Vengeance Film Review
Having penned some of the best episodes of The Office, it’s surprising that BJ Novak waited this long to make his feature film debut. Vengeance occasionally bears the markings of a first time filmmaker, but a sharp script filled with excellent dialogue demonstrates Novak’s maturity and experience as a screenwriter.
Blending mystery, drama and comedy, the movie has a tricky balancing act to maintain, and does so quite well. The fusion of genres doesn’t always mix smoothly, but the writing is so versatile it holds everything together. The commentary on the disconnectedness of new media goes beyond just being clever. It offers up insightful observations on the subject, more profound than the ones we often hear.
Like the climate of the small Texas town where the movie takes place, most of the comedy is quite dry. The smaller, subtle humour is when the movie is at its funniest. Even when the jokes don’t land, they’re played off in such a low-key way that it’s barely noticeable. The mystery, while still intriguing, ends up being the least interesting aspect. It’s easily forgiven, though, because the characters are all so full of heart.
The Shaw Family is the embodiment of small town country living, giving a strong sense of how tight-knit communities like this can be. Every member of the family is bursting with personality, but Boyd Holbrook really shines as Ty Shaw. His excitable, naive disposition makes for a character you can’t help but love. Ashton Kutcher makes a welcome return to acting in a supporting role as a country music producer. Though the role is small, Kutcher nails the performance, making the most of his limited screen time.
We’ve seen fish out of water stories like this before, but they often lack the kind of thoughtfulness seen here. Vengeance isn’t perfect, but it’s a promising debut for Novak, that puts a spotlight on his skill as a writer. Be sure to check it out in theatres July 29th.
Overall Rating: 7/10
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