Let Me Explain if the Movie Revenge By Coralie Fargeat is Worth Seeing

I’m going to start of with a resounding No. No, the movie Revenge by Coralie Fargeat is not worth seeing.

If Kill Bill and other bloody Quentin Tarantino movies aren’t your thing, then this movie is one movie that you should decidedly pass on. There is so much blood here, I was wondering, regularly, where it was all coming from. Like who was the guy on set with the bucket and the mop, that was tasked with spreading it throughout the shoot. Yes, these were the thoughts going through my mind during the movie Revenge. So, why then? Am I posting about it if generally here at THiNC. I only talk about movie recommendations? (Movies like The One I Love, The InvitationCoherence, Time Lapse, ARQ, etc etc etc. if you are looking for something to watch that would be DECIDEDLY better than this movie.)

Well, I’ll tell you why random internet denizen. Thanks for asking.

Sometimes a movie strikes a nerve with the zeitgeist of a moment so well, and so perfectly… that he has to be discussed, explained, and unpacked. Sometimes a director is almost prescient in her understanding of where a culture is going and taps into it so richly and in such profound ways that one has . to stop and consider if she might just have a crystal ball under her bed.

But to be clear, the movie Revenge? Is not on my recommended watch list. It’s not on my list of movies on the front page of my site that I am recommending as being worth watching. If though, you’ve already seen Revenge, and were looking for a location to discuss… might as well stay and join in on the discussion with the three of us that will see this movie.

Normally at this point in my movie reviews, I put a trailer here – and tell those of you that haven’t seen this movie to move along. But even the trailers for this movie are just too full tilt. Too out of control to really embed here. I’m just not really comfortable with that in that it may entice even one viewer to go watch (while the rest of you gag.) But with this movie, I won’t do a trailer, and I also am not going to ask any viewers to leave. This movie discussion will be one open to all, whether you’ve seen the movie or not. Because the idea is really simple…

Quick Explanation of the movie Revenge

Jen joins Richard on a hunting weekend away for the guys. She wasn’t supposed to be there when Richard’s friends, Stan and Dimitri arrive… but they arrive early. And when Richard runs off to get hunting permits from the game warden, Stan rapes Jen. Dimitri is complicit. And when Richard gets back he proceeds to bribe Jen into silence with the promise of a job in Canada, and a pile of money.

And just like that, all three men are complicit. We will get back to this point of complicity later on in our discussion, as we grapple with the #MeToo movement and the general cultural upheaval currently tsunami’ing its way through our society. But more importantly – the point I’m making here is that all three men are guilty in some way or another, right out of the gates.

Then, Jen threatens to tell Richard’s wife about everything if he doesn’t call the helicopter and get her out of there immediately. And from there? It’s all downhill until this film completely augers in. The next thing the audience knows is that Jen has run for her life, but finds herself on the edge of a precipice, surrounded by all three men.  Richard then pushes her off the cliff. Jen is impaled on a dead tree. And the guys go hunting, determined to clean up the mess later. And because this movie is in no way, shape or form resembling reality… this works. This movie isn’t a factual story with historical waypoints to follow like The 12th Man, or The Revenant.

This movie isn’t history it is an allegorical tale. How do we know? Well, for one thing, where Jen is impaled by a tree, after cauterizing the wound, the scar becomes the shape of an eagle. Right? This is decidedly NOT real life. How else do I know? Because the abused woman wins. But I am getting way ahead of myself.

Where was I? Oh yes. So Jen, hides, and the three men, end up not hunting animals, instead, they begin hunting Jen. And one by one, Jen violently kills each one. Dimitri by stabbing him in the eye. Stan, via shotgun blasts. And Richard in a ultra-bloody chase scene throughout Richard’s getaway house there in the desert.

The #MeToo Movement and Revenge

When I heard that Revenge was going to be a thing, and that it was directed by a woman by the name of Coralie Fargeat it really caught my attention. A female Quinton? Really? Could it possibly be? And now that I’ve gotten a chance to see Revenge I know that Coralie really brought the fire and told her story the way she wanted to tell it.

But what does it mean? What is it saying? Obviously it is a commentary on the movement across the globe against the men who have abused their positions of power to hurt women in heinous ways. And it’s a message I am 100% behind and supportive of. I mean, really? It is horrendous, and sad, and horrendously sad that this message even needs to be shared.

I did find it interesting that in the creation of the screenplay there was quite a bit of discussion about whether to make Jen the promiscuous side dish of Richard. Why? Because of the conventional wisedom throughout society that promiscuous women deserve to be mistreated, or worse. But in making Jen flirtatious and desirable the movie is explicitly stating that just because she is beautiful doesn’t make her fair game for abuse. At one point Richard even attempts that line of logic with Jen while she’s crying in her pillow.

I do think that Reveng is a call to arms of sorts. A call to arms stating that the standard narrative – that men carry the power and can do what they want without repercussions – that day is over.

Personally, I see the movie Revenge as a bloody allegorical tale. Or Greek myth, declaring a message for society today. A clarion call. A strong message to not only the men of the United States, but Hollywood even. That this previous norm is not OK. And I love this message. I love its proclamations.

A Rabbit Trail to Reply All

The tentacles of this problem go deeper than just a proclamation for men everywhere to cease and desist their abusive ways unfortunately. As I have mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of podcasts, and spend tons of time listening to a broad array of different shows. One of those is the tech commentary podcast called ReplyAll. They recently covered a topic that sort of blew my mind. On episode #119, they talked about the problem with taking down the website Backpage. So Congress acted to protect children, because children were being advertised on backpage as sexual items on a smorgasbord. Which, everyone believes is wrong. Of course no one wants that.

The problem spirals though, when you realize that Backpage was inadvertently providing a safe way for prostitutes to evaluate a john and determine whether or not he is safe. The podcast went on to discuss the fact that the homicide rate for prostitutes is around 200 per 10,000 people. To put that in perspective, the second most dangerous job for women is liquor store employee. And that homicide rate is 4 per 10,000. (Which opens a totally different can of worms… but I digress.) But that puts this problem in perspective.

But you are a Christian guy Taylor… you are against prostitution. Ok. Right. Got it. But when you take away something like a Backpage? Murders in a city go up. To the tune of 17% for women. Scott Cunningham is an economist that happens to study prostitution. And he studied Craig’s List before and after it opened up its erotic services in cities. Now, Craig’s List rolled out these services in different cities at different times. Which, provided an amazingly data rich study to evaluate from. And what Cunningham found was that, the overall murder rate of women, OVERALL, went down 17% when these erotic services were made available in a city. And if you point your brain at that statistic for more than 12 seconds, and you realize what that means… it means horrible horrible things about men over all.

Sure it’s a muddy morass, and we want to protect children so therefore shutdown Backpage. But did we just condone the murdering of 17% more women as a result? And why is that link there? Are prostitutes providing a clinical counseling solution to our regularly murdering minority of the population? It’s a truly frightening line of logic. A potential murderer won’t see a shrink but he will visit a prostitute and release his angst there? Obviously, I’ve wandered down range from what the data are saying specifically. I’ll end this line of logic with this quote from the podcast:

PJ: I feel like there’s something disturbing in there. The idea that there are enough men at the margins for whom paying for sex or raping a person are— 
SCOTT: Substitutes for each other?
PJ: Yeah. Yeah.
SCOTT: Well it doesn’t have to be a bunch of guys. It actually could be serial rapists which is really common. Um. It. But yeah. It is disturbing that they exist. It’s disturbing that there might be a very unusual public policy which could be a deterrent that on the face of it is very objectionable to people. I think that, that also is disturbing that we might be able to use voluntary sex work to pacify violence.

By mentioning this podcast and these statistics I am not implying prostitution should be legalized, or that we should placate violent men through sex workers. I’m just saying that men are, by and large, broken. That without a deeper and more integral intervention within the collective psychology of our men the Weinsteins, the abuse is just going to keep happening.

Final Thoughts on Revenge

As entertainment though? This is a really really tough watch. The rape, while mainly being off screen, is still tough. The individual that allowed the rape to occur was just as culpable as Stan. Then there is Richard the payoff fixer. (Which could get me going about Cohen, but I’ll waive off there.) Who thinks that his privilege and his wealth can make this affront go away. This is as much a crime as the original assault. Obviously the movie is attempting to speak in a language that men collectively understand, and that is violence.  Yeah, this is 100% a politically charged call to action. But could it be doing more harm than good in its attempt to speak in a medium that men get and largely understand? Could it be that Coralie is in effect objectifying Matilda Lutz, the actress that played Jen… which, could be yet another push in the flywheel of this complicated problem?

I really have no idea. It’s complicated. I am not afraid of the data. I am not worried about the morass that is this problem. I just would like women to be able to live in a world where they are not objectified, raped, and murdered as a matter of course. I do think we men are damaged beyond repair through a tragic misfiring of culture and domestic brokenness. And that we need a savior. But that’s just my opinion. 

Yeah, I don’t recommend this movie to anyone. But I definitely recommend this message and this proclamation against the problem it is attempting to attack… literally.

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