WARNING: This Article May Contain Spoilers
Revenge, def: the act of hurting or harming someone in return for injury or wrong suffered at their hands. This is possibly something, deep down, that we are all familiar with – it’s not always in violence. Even indirect social media posts can be seen as the modern form of revenge when hurt by a friend or lover. When it comes to films, however, more often than not the result is violence. It used to be rare to find female-led revenge films and when you did they were usually of the rape-revenge storyline. So, I have chosen to compile both male and female-led revenge films with varying motives.
Now, I’ll be honest this film is rather messed up and a little confusing. In the beginning, you don’t realise that this is a revenge film – it just seems to be about some middle aged woman trying to reclaim her youth through these teenagers and be cool. Things only start to come together when the flashbacks begin. However, everyone will talk about the fact that Sue Ann is trying to take revenge on the parents of these kids through them but the only connection to her school years is with Maggie and Andy. I think she is also trying to take revenge on the teens themselves as well because of the fact that they decide to stop hanging out with her – making her feel on the outside of the ‘cool gang’ once again.
I have been waiting a long time to see this film so you’ll never understand my excitement when Film4 chose to show it. Firstly, I just want to get off my chest – OH MY GOD! There is such an amazing twist at the end but I will not spoil it. Anyway, back to the point of this article. Deep down, I think this is a revenge story we can all relate to in some way or another, and that is the idea of reeking vengeance on behalf of a loved one. Grey Trace is out for revenge for the death of his wife and will stop at nothing to find the men who did it and bring them to justice. OK, so that justice turns out to be allowing a chip in his spine to control of his entire body and kill them but hey, each to his own I guess.
Girls Against Boys
What’s great about this film is that it is and isn’t your typical ‘rape-revenge’ story. Normally, the leading lady that gets raped is the one that exacts the revenge (I Spit on Your Grave, Revenge blah, blah, blah). However, this time the revenge is being exacted by the friend of the victim, and Shae is just kind of along for the ride until the journey leads them to their ultimate destination – the rapist. The interesting part is, can you really call Lu and Shae friends? Maybe by the end but Lu slightly forces herself into Shae’s orbit – so is jealousy just as much of a motive as revenge? You’ll have to watch it to make your own conclusion.
I just want to add, this was not the kind of film I ever expected Danielle Panabaker to be involved in. I’m not sure why but something about her, including in The Flash, has always screamed ‘girl next door’ to me.
Only God Forgives
This film really did not go the way I expected. I found it pretty weird and I cannot begin to explain the ending. The interesting thing however is that there are different angles of revenge and there’s one character you expect to be vengeful that isn’t. I’m referring to Julian. You naturally expect that Julian would want revenge for his brother’s death but he seems to be rather accepting of the reason why Billy is killed, and actually slightly feels that he got what he deserved. Instead it is their mother, Crystal, that longs to exact revenge on the men who killed her son but unfortunately it is her that revenge ends up being inflicted on. With this I am referring to the cop that allowed Billy’s murder to happen and him taking revenge on the people who attempted to murder him in retaliation at Crystal’s orders.
John Tucker Must Die
This isn’t as violent as the title might suggest. This is a revenge film that proves that it doesn’t always need to end in death, there are other ways to get even – the high school way. What I love is that not only is Kate trying to get back at John Tucker to help the girls out but maybe in a weird way – she is also doing it for her mum. However, my favourite thing – is that the revenge has more of a happy ending than trying to end a cheating low-life, it also helps three girls become friends with each other when they normal wouldn’t even speak to each other.
This may actually be the first time that I hate a character of Tom Hardy’s. Also, I’m not surprised that it was this film that finally won Leo his first Oscar. It’s amazing! The story of a man travelling days to avenge the death of his son, while also being on the brink of death himself. It’s also in a weird way a huge advertisement for karma. Glass is literally told ‘revenge is in the hands of God, not mine’ – which is why he hands Fitzgerald over to the Indians instead of finishing him off himself. I also want to draw your attention to another slice of revenge that features in this story and that is of the Indians themselves. The only reason they are attacking these men is in order to retrieve the Chief’s daughter.
I genuinely thought I was going to be opening this paragraph by saying that Tarantino had a lot to answer for – however, instead of starting at the end, we actually thrown right in at the deep end. I feel that this film slightly subverts your traditional revenge story – a husband avenging the death of his wife and child, you know like Gladiator (“Father to murdered son, husband to a murdered wife and I will have my revenge in this life of the next”– sorry I couldn’t resist). This time it is the husband and daughter that are gunned down. What I think they got right in this film (outside of the fact that the ‘gangsters’ actually kill the person they are targeting) is that they actually explain how a ‘soccer mom’ can suddenly kick so much ass! Instead of her just miraculously knowing how to fight and handle a gun.
Important side note: Prepare for a twist!
I’ll be honest, this is probably my favourite revenge story of the whole article. He is literally avenging the death of his dog and I don’t know any sane person that wouldn’t want to do the same thing. Alright, so breaking into his house and stealing his car may have been contributing factors but the most important thing is the dog. What ensues for the majority of this Tarantino-esque (I say this because it starts at the end) film, is a well calculated rampage – taking down the people responsible for the home invasion and ultimate murder of his best friend. Not only that, Daisy is John’s last connection to his wife so there’s no surprise he’s mad! In a way, he’s lost her all over again.