Storytelling school

Review: ‘Do Revenge’ fuses modern storytelling and cult classic films

Netflix’s new original movie, “Revengeescapes the usual storylines of the streaming platform and transcends audience expectations. What seems to start out as a daily high school revenge story – think, “mean girls” Where “John Tucker must die— quickly turns into a dark, convoluted tale that leaves viewers on the edge of their seats, eager to see this dark comedy unfold.

With recognized actors like Camila Mendes from “Riverdale“, Maya Hawke of”stranger things» and Sophie Turner of «game of thronesand a $25 million budget, expectations were high for this film. Co-writer and director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, creator of MTV’s “Sweet/Viciousand co-writer of “Marvel Studios”Thor: Love and Thunder“, at the height of his impressive repertoire in “Do Revenge”.

Drea Torres (Camila Mendes) is a 17-year-old it-girl on a scholarship to a prestigious Florida private school who is pursuing her dream of getting into Yale University, when a nude video she made for her boyfriend , Max Broussard (austin abrams), is leaked and shared online. After a heated public argument between the two, Drea slaps and dumps Max, who claims the leak was an accident.

Shortly after the exchange, Drea meets a transfer student Eleanor Levetan (Maya Hawke), who reveals her own grievance towards a classmate. The pair form a pact to “revenge themselves” and exact revenge on those who have wronged them. As the characters reveal their darkest secrets and underlying motivations, Drea and Eleanor work overtime to maintain their relationships, reputations, and plans for revenge.

Intricate color combinations add depth to “Do Revenge’s” subtext by emphasizing its characters and settings with unspoken aesthetic direction. Drea and Eleanor’s wardrobes consist mostly of soft pastel pieces, an ironic contrast to the dark palette that colors the rest of the film. Costume designer Alana Morshead shared that she designed Drea’s outfits to consist of cooler tones, reminiscent of ’90s models, and Eleanor to feature warmer tones with prints, indicative of their distinct personalities. Similarly, Drea and Eleanor wear lots of earrings to complement their outfits, a decision Morshead made which she says was influenced by popular ’90s models like Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer.

“Do Revenge” pays homage to many classic films of the 80s and 90s, fusing decades of storytelling into a brilliant, cross-generational cocktail. There are many moments and costumes in the film that pay homage to classic films such as “clueless,” “cruel intentions,” “Fatal attraction” and “Heathers.” In one scene, Drea and her love have a paint battle that later turns into a romantic date, mimicking the iconic original from “10 things i hate about you.”

“Do Revenge” refers to modern films like the female-led revenge movie “Promising young womanwhen Eleanor smears her lipstick in anger as she looks at herself in the mirror just like Cassie, the protagonist of 2020’s black comedy. covering timeless rock of the 90s, like “celebrity skinby Hole, to modern pop songs, such as “Brutal” by Olivia Rodrigue.

“Do Revenge” also breathes modern life into Alfred Hitchcock’s “”Strangers on a trainfrom 1951, the story of two strangers who meet on a train and agree to swap murder targets to evade arrest. True to Hitchcock’s signature formula, the line between innocence and guilt in “Do Revenge” is blurred, and an unexpected and telling twist near the end of the film redirects the mounting suspense into climactic surprise. The film begs the audience to consider whether the revenge plans Drea hatches for her and Eleanor’s targets are too extreme for the misdeeds committed by their intended recipients.

On the other hand, viewers may protest that students like Max, who distributes pornographic content of an underage girl without her consent, receive milder punishments than others whose crimes may be deemed less malicious. . Robinson’s decision to pair each offense with such starkly different sentences reflects modern society and reads like a commentary on America’s corrupt legal system.

Although Max commits a true federal crime, he dodges its serious repercussions due to his privileged upbringing, economic power, and political connections. her father is able to erase any stain on their last name with a simple phone call to his powerful lawyer.

At one point, Drea rants about how predators are often able to escape the harsh consequences of their crimes and leave women feeling scared and resentful. While “Do Revenge” gives victims of sexual misconduct a voice, it also shows the harm of labeling someone a predator through Eleanor’s storyline. An accusation against Eleanor traumatizes her and hinders her ability to trust and relate to others. As these two alternate plotlines weave through the film, “Do Revenge” is about the ever-cautious guard women must take as they navigate a world riddled with patriarchal barbed wire.

That being said, the film lacks crucial elements. Because the storyline relies on suspense, the exposition is too long and the action that happens tends to fall flat. In the script, some contemporary slang in the dialogue sometimes comes across as strained and even very odd. Although the majority of the characters’ conversations seem natural and the acting is stellar, even the cast’s perfect deliveries can’t stop a “lit” phrase from feeling awkward and abrupt, as the script proves that the actors of the film are indeed teenagers, although their appearances might suggest otherwise.

Beyond the cast’s 10-year-too-old appearance, the diversity within it stands out from Hollywood’s catalog of starkly white, heteronormative teen movies. Leading an equally diverse cast, Drea is Latino and Eleanor is queer, favoring the representation of communities typically excluded from Hollywood productions, not to mention the lead role.

As viewers consider the moral integrity of the protagonists and the righteousness of their revenge, “Do Revenge” transforms Hollywood’s revenge trope into an intense – albeit pastel – narrative that draws the line between good and evil. . The film makes unwavering strides in representation, pays homage to cult classic films, and speaks to the real world through a voice that’s both comedic and criminal.