Bob, a cab-driving serial killer who stalks his prey on the city streets alongside his reluctant protégé Tim, who must make a life or death choice between following in Bob's footsteps or breaking free from his captor.
Anna suffers from agoraphobia so crippling that when a trio of criminals break into her house, she cannot bring herself to flee. But what the intruders don't realize is that agoraphobia is not her only problem.
Director José Manuel Cravioto's feature début is a grubby affair, the sort of film that you feel like needing a good scrub after. It delves into the all too prevalent and real horrors that are sexual abuse and human trafficking. Eve (Tina Ivlev), one such victim, turns on her keeper Phil (Richard Tyson) when he brings food to her. Displaying terrific survival instincts, and some savvy when it comes to turning the tables on Phil, she hoists the battered Phil out of the cellar she has kept her prisoner in for six months. Finding Polaroid photos of other girls, being stashed away for the same purpose, Eve demands that Phil tell her where each is being held. So begins a night of twists and turns for our spunky lead.
Bound to Vengeance, originally entitled Reversal, is one short film, weighing in at seventy-five minutes of screen-time, excluding the end credits however you will not feel short changed. That lean running time is all that is needed to deliver a fast paced, edge-of-the-seat premise that would otherwise feel stretched. Every event that unfolds on-screen leads somewhere. There's no needless padding. If there is a grumble with the plotting it's that there's a couple of 'surprises' that aren't surprises really. You can see them coming a mile off but otherwise it's still an involving watch.
Tina Ivlev, a near dead ringer for Jennifer Lawrence, is exceptional. Ivlev captures the mixture of vulnerability and aggressor, that the role calls for, and I for one couldn't take my eyes off her. A very strong female lead! Naming the lead character Eve is rather unsubtle but unlike most woman-revenge flicks she is well-rounded, rather than one note, and we are drawn into her plight, even if she is a little slow in guessing what the viewer has already sussed from the start. Richard Tyson, as Phil, can do no wrong in my eyes. He has always been a favourite actor of mine, I really enjoyed his turn in Big Bad Wolf (2006) and he's equally as nasty here.
Human trafficking and sexual abuse are not subjects conducive to an evening of light entertainment. Fortunately Bound for Vengeance is focused more on the aftermath that occurs when one particular victim gets free and becomes the aggressor, rather than dwelling on the more sensationalistic aspects. Edge-of-the-seat, fast-paced and to-the-point this is an excellent calling card for director Cravioto and his lead Tina Ivlev. Recommended.
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