Prevenge is what Kill Bill should’ve been.
That may sound like a bold statement, but while Quentin Tarantino’s first three films were superb, the Kill Bill double-bill faltered. The Bride told how she went on a “roaring rampage of revenge” and how “I roared. And I rampaged. And I got bloody satisfaction.” Really? She only had five specific targets. Five people in over four hours is a rampage?? Ruth bumps off more peoople than that in 90 minutes!!
Mr Tarantino needs to hire Alice Lowe to see how it’s done!
Lowe is a long-term collaborator with Ben Wheatley (Free Fire) in movies such as the brilliant Sightseers, which she co-wrote with co-star Steve Oram, and Prevenge also marks her feature-long directorial debut.
Since I wasn’t expecting so much blood to be spilled, my mouth hit the floor even before the opening credits, as the murders her character, Ruth, carries out are so brutal and unforgiving, all the conversations which take place in this film all come across as very natural, and you can almost believe that she’d carry out such atrocities … but what makes Ruth stand out from every other serial killer is that she’s seven months pregnant. In addition, her unborn child talks to her to tell her who to bump off and how to carry it out. Okay, so she’s not the first movie character to be hearing voices that steer her in a certain direction, but it’s a cracking addition which serves the film superbly well.
We know, early on, that she’s no longer with her partner, but what happened to him? That’s something you’ll find out in the course of the proceedings, but it leads to so many humourous moments, even it’s just an occasional exchange of dialogue. When Ruth’s getting checked over by her doctor, played by Jo Hartley…
- Doctor (peaceful): “It’s very important to let the past stay in the past. It’s just nature’s way.”
Ruth (deadpan): “I think nature’s a bit of a cunt, though, don’t you(?)”
And when she’s chatting up the ’70s fan, DJ Dan (Tom Davis), it’s not much of a chat-up line when he eagerly tells her in the back of a taxi, “I fucking love fat birds”, and then…
- Dan: “Let’s stop fannying around and have a look at your fanny. Let’s have a butchers at what you’re holding down there.”
Ruth (again, deadpan): “You’re very selfish, aren’t you?”
Prevenge is very daft, but it has the makings of a modern British classic. Plus, it’s not like a typical US movie where they have death or two early on, and then leave a third until right at the end, Ruth has MANY people with whom she’d like to settle a score!
Add in an excellent ’80s-style synth score from Pablo Clements, James Griffith and Toydrum – who also recently collaborated on the excellent Detour, plus ’70s tracks such as T-Connection‘s Do What You Wanna Do, a song I’d never heard before, but now I want to hear it again and again. It reminds me of Lowe’s Sightseers when seemingly unlikely songs would pop up, unlikely because you don’t normally get them in modern movies.
Presented in the original 2.35:1 theatrical widescreen ratio, the picture is sharp, detailed and colourful in all the right places, with no problems whatsoever. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 50″ Plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
The sound is in DTS 5.1 serving Ruth’s murders well, whilst also delivering a superb score.
The extras are brief, but certainly worth a look:
- Behind The Scenes: Postnatal Confessions (11:10): Does exactly what it says on the tin, with plenty of clips from the film as well as on-set footage, so make sure you watch the film before this.
I didn’t realise Alice Lowe was actually pregnant while filming this. As she states, here, this meant there wasn’t much time for filming, and that continuity was an issue. This led to completing the shoot in a rapid 11 days! Also, the Halloween footage was taken from a real night out in Cardiff.
Alice also said that the reaction she wanted from the audience is… to want to watch it again. And I do!!
- Trailer (1:46): In the original 2.35:1 theatrical widescreen ratio
- Audio commentary: with Alice Lowe, producer Vaughan Sivell, director of photography Ryan Eddleston and editor Matteo Bini.
The menu features a static shot of the cover, with Toydrum’s score in the background. Subtitles are in English, while chapters are the bog-standard 12 (I wish we’d get more, but alas this seems to be the case with so many). Are Kaleidoscope paying by the chapter?!
Running time: 88 minutes
Cat no: KAL8602-DLTR0
Distributor: Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
Released: June 5th 2017
Sound: DTS HD-MA 5.1
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Alice Lowe
Producers: Jennifer Handorf, Will Kane and Vaughan Sivell
Screenplay: Alice Lowe
Music: Pablo Clements, James Griffith and Toydrum
Ruth: Alice Lowe
Midwife: Jo Hartley
Mr. Zabek: Dan Skinner
DJ Dan: Tom Davis
Tom: Kayvan Novak
Ella: Kate Dickie
Len: Gemma Whelan
Jill: Eileen Davies
Yoga Instructor: Grace Calder
Zac: Tom Meeten
Josh: Mike Wozniak
Catwoman: Sara Dee
Dan’s Mum: Leila Hoffman
Matt: Marc Bessant
Baby: Della Moon Synnott
Gin Drinker: Jacqueline Wright
Clown: David Puckridge
Girl in Park: Elen Rattenbury
Mother: Sally Scott
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.