Tuesday, September 23, 2014

REVANCHE (Gotz Spielmann, 2008, Austria)

Spine# 502

A fatuitous event leads two dissimilar men into a nexus of despair concerning the life of one innocent girl. Direct Götz Spielmann examines this conspiracy of discontent as he pulls focuses upon the inner turmoil and anguish of a small time crook and a small town policeman, who share a bond sheathed in lead.  

Alex is an affable guy living on a sinking island in the midst of the mainstream, who seeks a better life for he and his girlfriend Tamara. They need quick cash to escape Tamara’s pimp and escape towards the bright lights of the big city, but Alex’s infallible plan proves otherwise. Soon, Alex is resigned to his father’s home, his spiritual vision obscured by hatred, unable to see the forest around him for the trees. His elderly father is sick and he finds himself playing parent to the proud Patriarch, attacking the giant woodpile day after day with a vengeance. Meanwhile, Robert is a fledgling officer who stumbles upon a bank robbery: as the two felons escape he attempt to shoot the tires but his first shot is off the mark, killing the passenger. The cruel hand of Fate directs their lives at this violent crossroad: Spielmann’s story is not about the character’s actions but rather inactions, their spiritual journey through emotional oblivion.  

The fault with the story is in suspension of disbelief, the plot revolving on a grandiose coincidence. As Spielmann pursues this contrivance he waits until almost the halfway point to reveal the device: this allows the principals room to develop, to transition from caricature into character.   

Beautifully photographed, a mysterious object breaks the opening shot of dark placid waters, and it’s not until the denouement that we identify the artifact and understand the act’s implication. This elliptical structure allows closure to the sullen and foreboding account of all that has transpired, and gives hope to these fractured lives.
Final Grade: (B+)

Blu-ray (1 disc); DVD (2 discs)

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director Götz Spielmann, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New video interview with Spielmann
  • The Making of “Revanche,” a half-hour documentary shot on the set
  • Foreign Land (Fremdland), Spielmann’s award-winning student short film, with an introduction by the director
  • U.S. theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Armond White