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Reviewed on 2009-11-21
Received[3]  out of 4 stars
GenreCrime / Drama / Romance / Thriller
A rock thrown into a small secluded lake in the woods creates a ripple effect. Similar reverberations are felt by the characters in this emotional drama. The title’s translation means revenge or the act of retaliating in response to some bad action.

Tamara is a prostitute from the Ukraine working in a brothel in the red-light district of Vienna. Her boyfriend Alex is an errand boy and driver for her pimp boss. They have to keep their romance a secret, because employees are not allowed to fraternize. They are looking for a way out.

Alex devises a plan to rob a bank in a little village out in the countryside. Tamara insists on going along for the ride. Robert, a local policeman, is in the vicinity. He fires a few shots at the stolen getaway car as it speeds off and hits Tamara.

Alex lies low at his maternal grandfather’s farm nearby and chops firewood for the approaching winter. He is consumed with pain and grief. He harbors a deep hatred and a desire for vengeance against Robert. Alex begins to spy on Robert and his kindhearted wife, Susanne. The film focuses on how the lives of all these people change from the domino effect of the loss of a loved one.

The official submission from Austria was one of the five finalists for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. Writer-director Gotz Spielmann garners the recognition he deserves for being an astute observer of the human condition. The original screenplay is dripping with irony and cleverly ties together the characters.

The precise camera placement in every scene brings the audience an up-close and personal vantage point. The sights and sounds of nature play an integral part in the story.

With the exception of the grandfather, who is content with his lonely existence, everyone else is seeking changes to improve their daily existence. Sharp contrasts are made between the corrupt city and the peaceful countryside.

This movie is for mature audiences only with an abundance of sex, nudity and drug usage. The dialogue is in German with English subtitles. Now playing exclusively at the Tivoli for a limited engagement.

Review By:
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"


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