Saturday, 21 April 2012

Best Tasted Cold?

'Revenge' is pretty tough going. It all takes place in the aftermath of that most heinous of crimes, the abduction, rape and murder of a child and, not surprisingly, this hangs over the film like a dark pall of cloying, choking black smoke.

When the chief suspect is released without charge, the bereaved family take the law into their own hands - they kidnap the man, beat him up, and tie him to a chair in a pub cellar. They haven't the nerve to kill him, however, so, as time passes, the insidious presence of the man begins to pull the family apart, especially when he is able to start sowing seeds of doubt about his guilt...

Beefy James Booth plays the father, Joan Collins the new stepmother who has a simmering, dangerous relationship with her grown up stepson. The most difficult part is that of the suspected molester / murderer, played here with sleazy, wheedling aplomb by Kenneth Griffith. Griffith, with his milk bottle specs, bad teeth and flasher mac, is a loathsome creature, a stereotypical kiddie fiddler - if you can be certain that he is the murderer, that is - if not, he could just be another sad, lonely misfit in ill-fitting, badly made 70's clothes.

A film that raises some interesting questions, 'Revenge' is downbeat and deadly serious. The world it portrays reminds me of 'The Offence', a shadowy, terrifying place where justice and injustice are hard to tell apart, where pleasures are warm beer, sixty Embassy Number One's a day and Joan Collins in her bra and pants, where violence is contagious, and the overwhelming desire to smash something or someone into atoms is both a symptom of the disease and the cure.

Produced by 'Carry On' mogul Peter Rogers, perhaps this grim offering was (along with 'Assault') his way of getting as far away as possible from the franchise that paid his mortgage. If it was, it worked: unless you have a very odd sense of humour, you'd have to look forever with an electron microscope to locate a thin smile here, let alone a titter or a hyuk yuk yuk.


  1. I saw this a few years ago and the horror (if you like) of it came from thinking the film was going to end one way rather than the rather predictable way it does turn out, unfortunately. It's the journey rather than the destination though, I suppose.

  2. Worst episode of Fawlty Towers ever.