Hevn [Revenge] (2015) – Kjersti Steinsbo

 

Beginning its Canadian theatrical run at the Lightbox, the Norway-Canadian co-production of Steinsbo’s directorial debut makes an impression.

Featuring multi-layered characters set against the gorgeous backdrop of western Norway, Hevn is a revenge thriller that is tautly paced, strongly directed, and features some very nice performances from all the players.

The film follows Andrea (Siren Jorgensen) has come to a small city to visit a local hotel, under the pretense of conducting an interview for a travel magazine. She wants to talk with Morten (Frode Winther), the hotel owner, potential mayor, and apparently all-around perfect guy, but she has an ulterior motive.

She’s there for revenge.

For her sister.

But as she settles into the town, and realizes her target, despite his actions, is in fact human, and has a loving wife, Nina (Maria Bock) and a baby daughter. But, that doesn’t completely put her off, and she puts her plan into action.

Not everything goes to plan, her story isn’t iron clad, but she may have an ally or two. Things get tense, however, when she puts another life, an unsuspecting innocent, in danger to exact her vengeance.

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The beautiful landscape serves as counterpoint to the dark deeds and motives that are at work in the shadows of the mountains and fjord. And as the film’s lead, Jorgensen captivates, as she brings the haunted, driven Andrea to life. She struggles to deal with her grief, her need for revenge, and the guilt she carries from an event that she feels she could have prevented.

There are surprising moments of levity, alongside the tension, and terrifically scripted drama. The moments Andrea shares with Morten’s best friend, and local pub owner, Bimbo (Anders Baasmo Christiansen) give the film a heart, while any interaction with Morten seems to ratchet up the film’s tension, and the final minutes of the film are brilliantly tight, leading to an inescapable confrontation.

There is also a beautiful use of sound bringing the world we’re visiting to life, I was struck by it a couple of times, and it just drew me further into the film, complimenting the picture.

This is one where going into the film, the less you know about it the better. All I knew was it was a revenge thriller set in Norway. That’s it. I walked out very happy with the time spent with this story. It played out perfectly, and had the audience on edge a number of times.

Yes there are tons of big budget films to see this summer, but they’ll be there next weekend as well. Make some time to track this one down, it’s well worth it. If you’re in Toronto head down to the Lightbox this weekend and check it out, if you’re outside of TO, do your best to track this one down and support it.

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