Thursday, 7 February 2019

Thursday Movie Picks #239: Revenge

The topic of revenge has been in the news this week thanks to Liam Neeson. Liam Neeson was dogged in some controversy in the most sanctimonious place in the world, Twitter. Anyway, they were angry about some comments that were made where he stated he wanted to kill a black person following the rape of a friend. These are clearly feelings of a guy was a racist, but the words of regret are words of man who knew he was wrong. This doesn’t mean we should sweep it under the carpet as these are issues the black people still face today. The main issue with Neeson’s comments his he didn’t acknowledge that.

Anyway, there’s something slightly uncomfortable with the number of revenge films that involve a woman being raped or assaulted. They are mostly, if not all, directed by men. However, the film Revenge is directed by Corlaie Fargeat. It offers a female perspective on the genre where the most notable changes is the short and off-camera rape scene. With the female eye the woman is at forefront, not the rape and whilst the overall story is very much the same as many in the sub-genre the differences are more subtle than the ones that can easily be seen on the surface. 

It's a slower movie than his most famous revenge thriller, Oldboy, but Sympathy for Mr Venegence is no less shocking or grim. I didn't quite get to grips with the humour and odd tonal shifts. It’s a demanding watch that doesn't let the viewer relax as it barrages you with its barbaric nihilism.
On a more lighter note, in this film Jimmy Stewart gets revenge on the arsehole who stole his gun. Some good performances here, and a gripping final shootout, in this relatively unknown Western and Jimmy Stewart film.


  1. I've heard of your first pick but since I loathe rape/revenge movies I'll skip it. I haven't heard of your last two.

  2. I've been meaning to watch Sympathy for Mr Vengeance for years. I don't know why I still haven't seen it.

  3. I only recently watched Oldboy for the first time, so Sympathy for Mr Vengeance is very high in my watch list!

  4. I've only seen Winchester '73 which I really enjoyed as I do with most Jimmy Stewart Westerns and even though I've seen plenty of her early films it's always a bit surprising to see Shelley Winters so svelte and relatively subdued. A good fit for the theme.

    I went with films with a noirish feeling since revenge is such a part of the fabric of that genre.

    No Way Out (1950)-Shot during a robbery lowlife criminal Ray Biddle (Richard Widmark) and his brother Johnny are cared for by young black doctor Luther Brooks (Sidney Poitier) at the local hospital. Ray, a virulent bigot, protests loudly and when Johnny dies on the operating table (from an undiagnosed brain tumor) Ray becomes convinced it was murder and swears revenge. In frustration Luther and his mentor Dr. Wharton (Stephen McNally) turn to Johnny’s ex-wife Edie (Linda Darnell) to try and convince Ray of the truth. But despite being jailed Ray sends messages via another brother, the mute George (Harry Bellaver), to his gang and manages to incite the denizens of his ghetto-Beaver Canal-to attack the neighboring black community. Escaping Ray hunts Luther down leading to a nail biting face-off. Poitier’s first film, he’s good if a bit tentative, and overshadowed by Widmark and Linda Darnell both of whom give award level performances. Director Joseph Mankiewicz lead up to All About Eve is a brutal unfortunately still timely film about racial tensions.

    Act of Violence (1949)-Frank Enley (Van Heflin) is regarded as a war hero in his small California town where he lives with his wife Edith (Janet Leigh) and young daughter but one day Joe Parkson (Robert Ryan) appears hell-bent on revenge and Frank’s life starts to spiral out of control. The truth is that Frank aided the Nazis during his interment leading to a thwarting of Joe’s escape and a crippling injury as well as the death of several others. Now Joe plans a deadly vindication. Tough, bleak noir.

    Marked Woman (1937) - Mary Dwight (Bette Davis) and her four compatriots-Gabby, Estelle, Florrie and Emmy Lou-work as “hostesses” in a Manhattan nightclub that’s just been converted into a clip joint run by mob boss Johnny Vanning (Eduardo Ciannelli). Shortly afterwards they are pulled in by the crusading DA (Humphrey Bogart) and Mary takes the fall with assurances from Vanning that he will take care of her. But things go wrong and Mary’s innocent sister Betty is pulled into the web and ends up dead. When Vanning tries to weasel out of responsibility Mary tells him that she’ll get her revenge “Even if I have to crawl back from my grave to do it!” In response his thugs disfigure her making her the Marked Woman of the title which only strengthens her resolve to even the score.

  5. I didn't like SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE very much, and not *just* in comparison to OLDBOY. I haven't seen REVENGE and I've never even heard of WINCHESTER '73.

  6. Great selection Myerla 💛❤️💙💜 #SupportWiggleDance

  7. I've only seen Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. It's the one I like least of the Trilogy of Vengeance, but not a bad movie.

  8. The only one I have seen is the great Winchester 73 one of the best Western films with James Stewart.