5 GREAT CONTEMPORARY REVENGE FILMS
PUBLISHED 11 JULY 2016
Chan-wook Park / 2003
“Revenge is good for your health, but pain will find you again.”
Dae-su Oh (Min-sink Choi) has been imprisoned for 15 years. When he finally escapes, he seeks vengeance against his captors. The problem is he only has five days until the mysterious captor seeks revenge in return. A haunting tale of both rage and forbidden love leading to despair and thinly veiled insanity. Dae-su creates a constant sense of unease yet it is a struggle to look away.
KILL BILL Vol. 1
Quentin Tarantino / 2003
“Revenge is never a straight line. It's a forest, And like a forest it's easy to lose your way... To get lost... To forget where you came in.”
After the Bride (Uma Thurman) is attacked by assassins on her wedding day, she slips into a coma. When she wakes, she vows to track down Bill (David Carradine), the man who lead the assassins and subsequently caused the death of their unborn child. Like every Tarantino film he combines the best part of films from the genre, in this case revenge, to form an outstanding amalgamation of a film. The film has some truly iconic scenes and one of the best executed fight sequences in film history.
Chad Stahelski / 2014
“Well John wasn't exactly the Bogeyman. He was the one you sent to kill the fuckin' Bogeyman.”
When retired hit man John Wick’s (Keanu Reeves) wife passes away, he is left with nothing but his car and his dog. The son of a mob boss Iosef (Alfie Allen) makes the mistake of stealing the car and murdering the dog, instigating John Wick’s quest for revenge. Keanu Reeves is perfectly cast as the suave hit man and while the story itself is fairly simplistic, it is stunningly stylish.
Jeremy Saulnier / 2013
“I know this is personal. That's how you'll fail. No speeches, no talking. You point the gun, you shoot the gun.”
When Dwight (Macon Blair) gets some shocking news he returns to his childhood home in search of revenge. In its spare style, BLUE RUIN is an exemplary example of low budget indie filmmaking yet it manages to offer something new to the genre. Even the protagonist’s approach to revenge itself is simple. There are no fancy tricks or karate moves, only a gun and its target.
Christopher Nolan / 2000
“But even if you get revenge you're not gonna remember it. You're not even going to know that it happened.”
Guy Pearce stars as Leonard who, after the rape and murder of his wife, suffers short term memory loss. The story is told in reverse in 20 minute segments, coinciding with Leonard’s limited time before he forgets again. Each segment then ends where the previous began. The whole film is made to deceive the audience and play with perceptions of reality. It is a riveting mystery of a man’s endless pursuit for revenge but questions how willing we are to lie to others and even ourselves to achieve our goals.