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Promising Beginning, Poor Conclusion
Claudio Carvalho15 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
In Australia, the executive Kate (Linda Cropper) sees a young woman undressing her stolen dress in the swimming pool of a club, and regardless of the contrary opinion of her mate Phil (Jeff Truman), she decides to steal it back. Later her teenager son Matt (Wade Osborne) is approached by the smalltime thief Rachel (Anna Lise Phillips), the woman who stole the dress, and after spending some leisure time with her, they go to his middle class house. Sooner, Rachel's friend Nick (Scott Major) joins them, and Nick ties Matt to his mother's bed while Rachel masturbates him and cleans him with his mother's dress. The abused boy has a trauma, and his mother seeks revenge against Rachel, who returns with her friends, in escalating forms of retaliation until a tragic conclusion.

The beginning of "Envy" is promising and quite original, notwithstanding being confused. I saw the first two or three chapters of the DVD twice to understand the intriguing situation. Unfortunately, after the abduction of Rachel by Kate in the mall, it seems that the director became lost in the development of the story. It does not make any sense and is completely absurd for me that an intelligent executive, even affected by an emotional problem, decides to send a sociopath back to her home to give the sexual initiation to her traumatized son. The conclusion, with the death of Matt, is appropriate and shows that violence may generate increased payback, and the price of her dress in the end was the life of her beloved son. The actress Anna Lise Phillips has a great performance and makes the movie worth.My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Inveja Fatal" ("Fatal Envy")
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Middle Class manners disappear under strain
matthew17 July 2004
Coming in at 83 minutes I can recommend this a decent investment in time. It is a standard thriller with some nods towards sexual, family and class politics and the story though never rising to great levels nevertheless holds the interest as two women become involved in an increasingly bitter struggle following the theft of one's dress from a clothesline by the other. Coming from a middle class Australian background it is interesting to see middle class Australia as the canvas this story is told on. Though not a great film, it nevertheless hits the modest mark it aims for- certainly I enjoyed it more than the average big budget overblown levithian that is usually thrown at the screen these days.
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A fair appraisal of a different kind of film.
miss_casey_lou9 March 2003
For an australian theatre, this film does not let the audience down. At first, the film seems choppy, confusing and badly thought out, but as the movie goes on and the plot thickens, everything falls into place. Brilliant acting by the two female leads, Anna Lise Phillips (rachel) and Linda Cropper (kate). The office scene is amazing, almost 10 minutes of pure tension and anger, mostly conveyed through prolonged silences. That is the mark of great acting, when you can create the most powerful scene in the movie without talking much. Some of the choices that the characters make are quite confusing though, and if you get it on DVD i strongly reccomend you watch it with Directors comments, although sometimes the two narrators go off on a tangent. This film is more dark and sinister than a lot of thrillers, and explores whats behind all the closed doors, what goes on behind the scenes and what people are thinking and how they might react when someone they are close to is raped. Granted, they might not go to such extremes as Kate, but still, its a interesting movie nonetheless.

May I also say the pool and shopping centre are from my home town in Sydney! Gave me the shock of my life to see the blue 'sky' from my local shopping center in the place where i grew up, seeing as I have not been there for almost 2 years now. Once i got over that, i realised how much i should be focusing on the actors and the plot rather than the locations. You really need to notice details in this movie, as lots of it is flashbacks, and there is no indication of what is and what isnt a flashback (or flashforward, as the first scene is)unless you notice things like clothing. The ending is very ambiguous, and as the directors say, there is no real meaning to it, you can choose which of the two options you prefer (i wont say what happens, that would ruin it) A great movie, one to see if a thriller/thinker is your idea of a good movie.
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Reasonably worthwhile, annoying ending.
OpinionSoup6 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The tale resolves around escalating tit-for-tat retaliations between a mother and a young woman with antisocial tendencies. I bought this for NZ$5 from a bargain bin. As such I was initially pleasantly surprised. A bit of kink, a bit of drama. It is true that there were some plot holes and unconvincing character transitions but it still could have been good fun. Towards the end it presented what I found a quite amusing possible alternative resolution that potentially tied together some of the questions raised quite neatly. The questions I am referring to are, What was the actual core of the boy's trauma, had the mother lost sight of her desire to protect him in seeking revenge, and could the girl ever escape her situation with just $180 of 'life savings' Unfortunately there is apparently a handbook of inescapable clichés out there that escalating revenge dramas can only end with the obvious tragedy that leaves the protagonist looking mournfully into the camera and teaches us that escalating revenge is bad. The ending that was added to restore this cliché is described in the blurb as 'enigmatic' and 'profoundly unsettling after-effect'. I just found it annoying.
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Decent watch.
jtur885 December 2001
This was a decent watch, but nothing that I would particularly recommend to anyone. Acting performances were generally quite good, and the story certainly off-beat enough to keep one wondering where it would go. For something a little bit different, give it a try---better than the same-old same-old.
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Jeremy1 August 2006
I want 2 hours of my life back. This movie, though well acted, descends into totally illogical plot lines, as if the family portrayed were in withdrawal from crack cocaine. One asks, as in the other comment, why the police were not called. But totally unbelievable is how a mother knocks into unconsciousness a teenage girl in a shopping mall complex and suddenly has her waking in an office tied to a door - didn't anyone notice mum dragging the body through the mall? I think this film is the result of the ascendancy of intellectual conceptualists hijacking top positions in Australia's creative colleges (in the late 1970's till today), at the expense of mortar and brick craftmaking. Creativity is not some engagement where a concept, however illogical, stands on it's own merit. The Director claims the movie got rave reviews all over Oz and the world. Either she exaggerates, or film critics are brain dead. The writer (who played the father in the film) claims the story comes from a previous writer and it seems they had a difference of opinion and parted ways before production began. What a shame - I'm sure the original script could not have been worse than the revised one. Though well acted, film is badly wrought, directed and edited, and the DVD should become a worthy beer coaster in a caravan in Woop Woop.
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Stupid crap movie
gevans9616 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was a budget flick to say the least. Camera work presented several interesting shots, but for the most part, it was not top quality at all. The plot was the weakest aspect, the acting was mostly bad or wooden at best, and the script wasn't good either. I felt as though the movie would never end. The fact that the crazed mother wouldn't simply go to the police was ludicrous. It was as if there was a "no way out" thing happening where the family couldn't, but this simply was not the case. The police were already looking for the trio of bad folks so why not call them when the mother found the house they live in. In fact, by the end where I assume the kid was actually killed (er drowned), you would think the police would most definitely have been involved!!! This really made the plot ridiculous and the movie was nearly unwatchable.

Stupid. I wasted 82 minutes watching this.
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"Stupid Thriller" in guise of "Clever & Challenging"
ksaelagnulraon28 December 2001
This is NOT just another ordinary thriller - it's darker, has more behind the scenes, is less polished, has more substance. However, the only way the story could succeed was with some unbelievably stupid plot developments: it seems the script writers have almost totally ignored the possibility of police and/or psychiatric involvement...surely after your teenaged son has been raped, you'd get some sort of professional help!! The film gets sillier and sillier as the mother goes through a mid-life crisis (complete with alcohol and a different hair-colour) and becomes a vigilante seeking revenge for her family... Okay, what WAS done was done well, but it's actually a pretty bad script. Rating: 6/10.
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Jumpy plot development
paledude4 December 2001
Warning: Spoilers
***Possible spoilers***

I enjoyed this movie despite its uneven story development. The driving event of the film was the son's "molestation", which I found a little tame. It took me a while to figure out that the youngster wasn't in fact in his early twenties. Perhaps a younger-looking actor would have served better. Possibly, the hooligans could have been a little more violent or nasty. Hard to imagine that this rather tame event could have led to the total destruction of the family.

The mother's ambivalent motivation was well-depicted, although I think more milage could have been gotten from it. The end of the movie comes very quickly and I was left with lots of questions about exactly what happened and why. For once, a movie that could have been 30 minutes longer.

Overall, an entertaining movie, though.
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