Poster artwork for the Norwegian film Hevn (Revenge)A woman shows up in a picturesque village in Norway looking for retribution. She can’t do it, at least not with the big knife she brought along. Her intended victim, Morten (Frode Winther), is a recently relocated city dude, highly respected, and a new father, so Rebekka (Siren Jørgensen) splits the difference and goes about ruining his life instead. The pleasure we derive from his undoing – effected through a resourceful form of entrapment – is what makes Hevn so compulsively watchable.

Rape revenge movies have a long and dubious history. Hevn is typical in its reliance on unlikely plot contrivances, which we’re asked to tolerate because of the moral force of its theme. To this end, credit goes to the blandly good-looking Winther as Rebekka’s quietly self-satisfied mark, a cross between David Beckham and Garret Dillahunt who’s as easy on the eyes as he is to dislike, even if we’re not sure of his guilt. Writer-director Kjersti Steinsbø, making her feature début milks that all the way to a Dragon Tattoo finish that plays on our less enlightened impulses.

Hevn is a crisply shot number full of clean Scandinavian lines and a kind of formal simplicity that reveals some of its narrative shortcomings. But, God, those mountains!

– Adrian Mack, Georgia Straight


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