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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Mystery > Drama > Austria > Revanche (2008/Criterion Collection Blu-ray)

Revanche (2008/Criterion Collection Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: B     Film: B



Sometimes a film so interesting gets past everyone that it deserves a serious second look and rediscovery by a wider audience that would be impressed by it.  This especially happens to foreign films, even when they are smart thrillers like Gotz Spielmann’s Revanche (2008), which crosses a suspenseful thriller narrative with an interesting character study of the characters involved.


In the less tourist-friendly side of Vienna, Alex (Johannes Krisch) is an ex-con who works in a brothel and finds himself falling for Tamara (Irina Potapenko), a “lady of the night” from the Ukraine who is as stuck there as he is if not more so.  They get to know each other and then plan to run off to what they hope will be freedom and opportunity for a better life.  However, they cross paths with a couple and when murder is involved along with the husband (Andreas Lust) being a police officer, they find a new kind of trap instead leaving them with a whole new set of problems.


I had heard of this film and some good things about it, but seeing is believing and will involve those who are not used to foreign language films (unless they speak German) in unexpected ways.  Spielmann’s knack for telling the story visually is rich and involving, plus his screenplay is very well thought out and well-rounded in a way that never misses any opportunities.  He decides to stay within certain perimeters to make the story complete, but I liked that and it keeps the realism grounded while flushing out the characters.  Except for seeing a few things here before, he is trying to do something original here and succeeds more than expected.  If you have not see Revanche, you should as soon as possible.  No wonder it was Oscar nominated for Best Foreign Film.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image is often terrific, though a few shots can look soft or grainy, there are more than enough solid shots here that you would only get in the Blu-ray format or from a Criterion Blu-ray.  Director of Photography Martin Gschlacht does some great work here, bringing you as intimately into the narrative visually as the screenplay with interesting blocking choices and a good look & feel that deliver.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is interesting in that it has its moments of silence, then has moments it kicks in and uses the surrounds well.  All the time, it is a warm, smooth mix with character that also furthers the effectiveness of the film.


Extras include a booklet with tech information, illustrations and Armand White essay, new video interview with Spielmann, half-hour making of featurette, U.S. theatrical trailer and Spielmann’s short film Foreign Land (Fremdland).



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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