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Revenge / Hevn

Based on a novel by Ingvar Ambjørnsen called ‘Doll on the Roof’, Revenge follows Rebekka, a young woman who travels to an idyllic Norwegian town in Western Norway. Posing as a travel reporter, she is out to take revenge on one of the towns most popular residents, who many years ago raped her younger sister resulting in the sisters’ suicide. Rather than killing him (as we see she wanted to do), she decides to instead ruin his life piece by piece.

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    • Directed by Kjersti Steinsbø
    • Written by Ingvar Ambjørnsen & Kjersti Steinsbø
    • Produced by Paul Barkin & Kristine Knudsen for Den Siste Skilling
    • Starring Siren Jørgensen, Anders Baasmo Christensen & Trond Espen Seim

Anticipation

Come on, look at that location!

Viewing

While it starts off promising, the film seems to slip into absurdity towards the end. 

Recommendation

Entertaining and full of interesting characters, it’s a shame the films ending loses credibility. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5zRPQXC2gY

 

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While the film starts out tense, it softens out into a slow-paced psychological revenge that sees Rebekka quietly and carefully ruining the mans life. The last half an hour or so picks up again, with Rebekka committing acts that border on being called ‘revenge porn’ before the final showdown takes place. 

The film lacks credibility in some parts: Rebekka is hardly credible as a travel reporter, and it is revealed towards the end of the film that one of her old friends, the now bartender, recognised her – something that seems like it should’ve been brought up earlier. However, besides these points the film is very strong in conveying Rebekka’s revenge and the film is entertaining from start to finish. Where Revenge works best is as a character drama, and the film certainly has some strong characters. Frode Winther makes a perfect bad guy, and he also adds character and an interesting ambiguity. Anders Baasmo Christiansen works well as the bartender, one city kid who has settled in the village to escape crime in Oslo. Trond Espen Seim does not give him much to work with, but he is always a delight and brings something to the role. Above all, Siren Jørgensen is perfectly cast as Rebekka, and hopefully we’ll see her in more films.

Revenge is impeccably shot – set on the Sognefjord it takes full advantage of the serene surroundings. It seems as though the landscape also plays an important role in the film, trapping its inhabitants among its walls. Director and screenwriter Kjersti G. Steinsbø is a strong directed, and is brilliantly assisted by the cinematography of Anna Myking and the music of Michael White, who together support the gloomy mood created by the landscape.

Overall, Revenge is a psychologically tense and beautifully set film that follows a woman taking justice into her own hands. While the film may struggle on the boundaries between vengeance and vigilante extremism, it shows the unfailing solidarity with vulnerable young girls who are like this in real life.

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Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.