Vengeance: A Love Story (2017)
User ReviewsReview this title
And they are so disconnected with the real world for some reason.
Anyway, it is bad, really bad
1 star for Nicolas Cage 1 star for Nicolas Cage 's action scene 1 star is for Anna Hutchison and Dikran Tulaine
If you have time to kill with nothing else to watch then OK. Watch it for the acting. Otherwise, pass.
The story-line is something we've all seen a thousand times before - only, even the worst version of this hackneyed story is better than this. Every prejudice you can imagine is wheeled out, beaten with a stick until it screams 'stop, stop', and yet, is beaten again. I know we live in age of the 7-second attention span but this film is a waste of 6 of them.
Don't go to see it. And, sure as heck, don't pay money to see it.
Everything they know about writing a movie is from watching movies and they don't understand what they're watching. In this particular movie they thought all they needed something bad to happen so the good guy could start going after the bad guys and then you just stop and that's your end. Unbelievably shallow attempt at storytelling and the writer wants us to believe there is no such thing as DNA evidence. If there was DNA evidence then this movie couldn't have been made. Well, DNA evidence exists and this movie shouldn't.
And what the hell ever happened to Nicholas Cage? He used pick interesting roles and create something interesting a memorable? Why did he decide to suck?
As such, it's darker, slower but also better compared to similar movies. The story is well put together, though the aftermath and the effects of the lives of Teena and Bethie could have been a little more fleshed out, and similarly some of the other main characters, notably the judge and Don Johnson's lawyer character.
The acting is good. Cage is good, his usual, but slower, a bit more withdrawn. Don Johnson's performance as an unscrupulous lawyer oozes slime (good role-casting) and Talitha Bateman puts on a good performance as the daughter. Sadly, the final third falls quite flat, and I blame mostly the title. If you make a movie about vengeance, than put a bit more effort in it. While more realistic than Cage's usual wise- cracking one-liners, the movie builds up to a momentum that never really arrives, as he coldly and efficiently disposes of the perps. But overall, this is a decent movie, just don't expect a blood soaked, bullet-riddled vigilante movie.
There is one bright spot in the film, though. That is the performance of Talitha Bateman as the daughter. She acts in a relaxed, natural manner that is totally believable. In fact, she shows more acting ability than some of the other characters in the movie. But to be fair, there are a number of caricature roles in the movie that aren't very demanding of the actors (for example, the bad guys and their mother).
Bateman is young, so I hope she can find some better scripts than this in the future, and continues to grow as an actress. At this point, she reminds me of how Saoirse Ronan was at the same age. Ronan developed into a very good actress. I hope Bateman can do the same.
There is a decent revenge tale in there, but it doesn't work with the comically bad plot, based on everyone in the town of Niagara being insane. A pretty single mother goes to a party at her boyfriends house and has a couple of beers. She walks home pretty much totally sober with her daughter. 4 guys jump out and beat and gang rape her repeatedly while her daughter watches. They leave her in a pool of her own blood and unconscious. They have DNA and the daughter positively identifies the men. Teena gains her memory back after coming out of her COMA and positively identifies them. Open and shut case clearly right? Nope. Whole town thinks Teena...the widow, whose lived in town at least since high school and was married to a factory worker in town, who is dating seemingly a popular guy in town and who is shown in her first inexplicable scene with a friend in a bar, who was with her daughter who has a broken arm and whose face is beaten and bruised...was a whore. Yep the defendants went with the, "She willingly had sex with us, and then the 100 lbs woman attacked us and we beat her to a bloody pulp after we all had sex with her." Their literal defense was "she was so drunk she doesnt remember" Uhh...even their defense describes a rape. If she is so intoxicated that she cant remember or control her actions...she is too intoxicated to consent.
Teena's boyfriend disappears for some reason (never explained) and makes a small cameo later when one of the rapists tells him in a crowded bar, "I am going to do to you, what i did to your girl." Yep...dead serious that happened. The rapists cat call the victim in the court room and the court cheers when Don Johnson (their lawyer) calls her a whore and says she is guilty of child abuse for having drunk consensual sex in a park in front of her daughter...Dont worry, the judge would surely step in and in no way allow a defense attorney to approach a rape victims child and call her a whore...nope wrong again...the judge corrects Nic Cage on his grammar, tells a woman who just got out of a coma to take off her sunglasses, overrules all objections to a lawyer calling a rape victim a whore in the court room and then later engages in an ex-parte hearing with Don Johnson...Yep, the whole towns gone insane. Thats the plot. Girl gets raped, Entire town is insane,Nic Cage kills the rapists in the least painful ways imaginable...bullets to the head...Half the people you want him to kill live at the end and the people he kills goes out so painlessly and effortlessly there is neither drama nor satisfaction. At one point Cage calls one to lure him to a hotel and there is a woman's voice on the line...its never explained if cage did a female voice, had a female talk or what the heck happened. The screenwriting is insane. I love Cage, but this was the worst written hack piece of trash I have ever seen. I watched it all because there were so many people i wanted to die in horrible ways and I kept thinking, "Maybe they just made all these people awful so Cage has more to kill", but nope...Doesnt happen
Now, I will say that it wasn't because Nicolas Cage put on an outstanding performance, although he had upped his game here in comparison to what he usually does. No, it is the storyline and the brutality of the movie that made it so good.
As for the acting, well as I just said then Nicolas Cage did perform surprisingly well here, although it was not his top performance. However, the movie was really carried excellently by Talitha Bateman and Don Johnson. Talitha Bateman really has potential for a great acting career. And as for Don Johnson, then it felt like that particular role was custom made for him, because he was simply superb in this movie.
"Vengeance: A Love Story" is a brutal movie in a way that doesn't cross the line and become tacky or sleazy. It is the nature of the storyline that makes it brutal and does leave something in the audience once the movie has ended.
I was more than genuinely entertained with the outcome of this movie, and it was a positive surprise that the movie was so much more better than I had expected it to be. So if you are a fan of Nicolas Cage, and actually if you aren't as well, then you should do take the time to sit down and watch "Vengeance: A Love Story", because it is well worth the time and effort.
Now, if someone had blogged that they were going to do a knockoff of that story in 2017 starring an older and slightly washed out Nicholas Cage (now in his 50s) I would have answered, "you're kidding." But nope, not kidding, the movie was made anyway.
I am a big fan of nostalgia films, and this all the ingredients, right down to characters so overwritten you would almost expect them to be wearing either a "white hat" or a "black hat" (for the sake of children in the audience), but the fact is that this is neither an engaging film nor an entertaining one. Which does not leave much on the table.
It could however sort of serve as a "curiosity" film, with lots of strange things going on:
* Don Johnson, once called "the sexiest man alive" overacts to an almost criminal degree as a .... criminal lawyer.
* Deborah Kara Unger plays one of the hottest grandmas in the history of film. I wish I could say this was my original observation but I first noticed it in a mainstream review cross-referenced by IMDb. So the best I can do is agree with the comment.
* in the middle of this otherwise dull film, there is an homage to that infamous scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where a baddie pulls a knife on Cage and, Cage nonchalantly shoots him in the head without even breaking stride or changing expression. The whole scene takes 30 seconds, tops, but it is the highlight of the film. It may even end up on Youtube.
* Anna Huthison may possibly be auditioning for another movie entirely, and uses the film to show a pretty amazing range, from shameless tease to rape victim. One suspects she will be noticed. Deservedly so.
anyway - i implore you - believe me - this is 1 hr 40 you will never get back. it is like a small budget made for TV, badly acted and edited, but more than that - the story is actually rubbish.