Vengeance: A Love Story (2017) – Review

Vengeance: A Love Story

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Niagara Falls police detective and Iraq war veteran John Dromoor (Nicolas Cage, The Rock) is flagged down by a 12 year old girl after she witnesses her mother, Teena, being brutally attacked and left for dead by a group of local men.

When the men are caught, their parents hire slick criminal defence attorney Jay Kirkpatrick, (Don Johnson, Django Unchained) who puts the focus on Teena’s credibility, based on her sobriety and promiscuity. Shockingly her assailants are exonerated and released, even though the daughter’s testimony should have alone been enough for a certain conviction.

In the aftermath of the verdict Dromoor grows increasingly close to the victim and her family, who he then discovers are being taunted and stalked by the freed men. The injustice becomes too much for him to take and, fuelled by a sense of vengeance and his own personal demons, Dromoor sets out on a lone campaign to serve the justice the men deserve.

Vengeance: A Love Story

Vengeance: A Love Story

How provocatively can a woman behave before she’s asking to be sexually assaulted? How far, before any battering she receives becomes her fault, and not that of her attackers? The answer is of course that there is NO distance a woman can go before she deserves to be raped, but these are the questions being put to the good folk of Niagara Falls, NY, in this, the new film by director Johnny Martin (Delirium). Based on the 2003 novella Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates, Vengeance: A Love Story plays in many ways like an eighties/nineties thriller (I mean that in its best sense, it should be noted). This feeling is no doubt augmented by the star turns of both Don Johnson (Miami Vice) in strutting peacock mode as cocksure defender Jay Kirkpatrick and of a (thankfully) largely restrained Nicolas Cage (Face/Off) as John Dromoor, the detective determined to dispense justice when the law will not. But for me, the real stars here are Anna Hutchison (The Cabin in the Woods) as Teena, the victim of the attack, Deborah Kara Unger (Payback) as Agnes, Teena’s devastated mother, and especially Talitha Bateman (The 5th Wave) as Bethie, the girl who witnessed the entire assault on her mother. I expected to find myself referring to Miss Bateman as a newcomer but this is her fifteenth picture and, given her ability on display here, I really shouldn’t have been surprised.

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Vengeance: A Love Story

Vengeance: A Love Story

In addition to the rape itself which is brutal but mercifully brief, Vengeance: A Love Story is often a hard watch, from the various scenes of young Bethie being harried in her small town by the friends and relatives of the rapists, to the court scenes in which Teena is pulled to pieces all over again in an entirely different but hardly less inhuman manner. Things become decidedly more “John Wick” much later on but this is of course a good thing, with the Niagara Falls themselves being used to quite beautiful effect in one instance.

Vengeance: A Love Story

Vengeance: A Love Story

Vengeance: A Love Story never drags, in fact it feels all-too-brief; Nicolas Cage drips laconic menace throughout, and the movie – due out on March 27th, 2017 – comes highly recommended. Four stars.


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Loves: My beautiful wife; my beautiful son; all manner of film, especially Westerns (particularly Spaghetti Westerns), Horrors, and Sci-Fi pics; all types of music, but mostly punk, metal and good old rock & roll; the novels of Stephen King, HP Lovecraft and Cormac McCarthy.; and, of course, every single one of you saucy BRWC readers. Hates: Soap operas; gormless "reality" shows; Simon "TwatSpasm" Cowell; The Sun "News"paper... basically, all the evil in our world.

  • Hrvoje Grahovac

    That guy from Flickering Myth has nithing on this review

    • BRWC

      Ha thanks Sir! We love the guys at the Myth though!

      • Hrvoje Grahovac

        I mean that I like this kind of review. Flickering Myth is too hateful (I don’t like this type).