Pizza, sex, and Norwegian films. What do movies from the beautiful land of Norway have to do with those other things you might ask? Well, every time I have the opportunity to check out a new one, I get quite excited, due to even average Norwegian films being still pretty good compared to others. They only put out a small number of films every year and always seem to have a solid entry (The Wave, The Last King) or knock it out of the park (Thelma, In Order of Disappearance). Since even fewer come out over here in North America, I jumped at the chance to watch Revenge (Hevn).
Female-led revenge thrillers are not a new fad. While they seem to be popping up more frequently as of late, the original formula hasn’t changed much in the last forty years. Revenge (Hevn) does have a few interesting takes on certain aspects, however. The main story follows Rebekka and her quest. Just like the marketing for the film, Revenge (Hevn) gets right to it. The reveal of the backstory is quick. Almost all the character’s cards are on the table in the first twenty or so minutes. The rest of the film keeps building on the tension and suspense. All eyes are on whether Rebekka will avenge her sister and make Morton suffer for what he did many years ago.
The best parts of the film are where you are questioning whether Morton is this genuinely awful person Rebekka believes him to be. He has a wife, a newborn, a business, and even possibly running for mayor. No one has a bad thing to say about him at first. I enjoy stories with an unreliable narrator, and I almost wished this went even a little more into it.
The facade that Rebekka puts up and how that is worked into the story when first arriving was well thought out. The cover for her working as a writer for a travel magazine seems genius until she stayed longer and longer. Just as I was starting to question the plan, as it made less and less sense, they were able to think up just the right answer to appease me. The writers thought out the plot well.
The acting was on point. The side characters were engaging and fit the narrative well. The side plots with Bimbo (Anders Baasmo Christiansen) and Maya worked well with Rebekka’s scorched earth policy. As the movie goes and we see all the collateral damage to everyone’s lives and how it affects not just Morton, is what makes this type of film stand out.
The scenery and settings are gorgeous. The country always looks so inviting, from the many fjords and lakes to the snow-capped mountains. The use of the film’s settings gives some excellent realism. I could see myself having a nice vacations stay at Morton’s hotel. The cinematography and score are solid if albeit a little safe. They don’t quite come up to my (possibly unrealistic) expectations.
My main issue with the film stems from the length of the tension. I liked that the story had its reveals done quickly and it got suspenseful in a hurry. After that, however, it just kept going. It never felt quite satisfying. Even though it could have gone the way of Last House on the Left or I Spit on Your Grave very easily, I’m fine that it didn’t, but it needed something else to culminate the tension building.
Revenge (Hevn) Overall: 3.5/5
Revenge (Hevn) ended up being a solid entry into the world of Norwegian film. The acting, setting, and the suspense were all fantastic. It just missed a little bit on the final delivery and some other small aspects. However, I think those that like revenge films will find enough here to enjoy. This film is slated to be in theaters today and also will be available on many VOD platforms.
Note: This film was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgment or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.