Article by: Roberto Guida
Translation by: Emanuela Ismail, Valeria Tutino
Jennifer is the sweetest Lolita: beautiful, sexy, with a flirty attitude. She provokes the deepest desires in her lover, a rich businessman, and in his two business partners, that have met for a hunting trip in a luxurious mansion between the canyon and the desert. Waking up after a night of partying, the young woman suffers an assault and decides to run away, sparking the rage of the three, who run after her in the desert and throw her down a cliff, leaving her for dead. Shortly after, the hunters will find out, at their own expense, that they have become preys: Jen, who has survived and is even more fierce, will find them one by one and she will get her own raging and gruesome revenge.
Coralie Fargeat, at her debut on the big screen, presents a splatter movie that’s honest, true, fair, like a real fancier of this genre. Plot, characterisation of the characters and dialogues take second place, reduced to the essential, almost inexistent; the aim, fully achieved, is to channel the focus on the genuine spectacle of this genre: violence, drug, firearms, sharp blades, lacerations of all kinds and obviously a great deal of blood. These are the weapons of this film, that above all wants to look alive, constantly changing, just like its main character. The choice of the plans becomes functional to this: a certain fetishism towards the super close of the camera through details and extreme close-ups bring us to an epidermal world, sensitive and palpable in all its extent.
Excellent performance by Matilda Lutz, who plays the leading role and cleverly moves from a lower, more sensuous and intimately feminine register to a fresh action mimicry that she has never revealed in any of her previous works.
Fargeat enjoys (and we enjoy) playing with some licences that only this entirely grotesque genre can offer and that, in any other context, would have been rather absurd. It is not surprising that Jen would survive to that terrible fall, and turns, in a single night, from being the reincarnation of Nabokov’s muse to Lara Croft’s amateur. Within the lines, one can discern an all-female metamorphosis that sees a brand-new woman emerging from the gorge, with an animal-like appearance, impossible to tame and manipulate as a mere object of desire.
That in times of duress like these, in which the woman’s dignity has been once again abused, the freshness of this first effort, created by a woman about another woman, asks for and achieves its own revenge.