Directed by: Ching-Po Wong
Written by: Lai-yin Leung, Juno Mak, and Ching-Po Wong
Starring: (main leads) Juno Mak and Sola Aoi
Here is a brief synopsis
A murderer is targeting police officers and their pregnant wives. In the murders the wives are pregnant and their yet unborn baby is removed and left to die next to the mother. The killer is later apprehended on a bus while trying to flee the scene of his latest crime. Seems like an open a shut case but what led the killer to commit these heinous acts in the first place??
Revenge: A Love Story is a Hong Kong production with mainly a Chinese cast, the exception being Sola Aoi who the female lead who is Japanese. When doing research for this review I discovered that she was actually a former Japanese Adult film actress. You might think this might be surprising to me but the sexual violence and nudity that is in the film, I have a feeling it would be difficult to find a “mainstream” actress for the role.
The film is broken into 5 chapters and has a fragmented storyline with time jumps so the beginning of the film isn`t necessarily the beginning of the story chronologically. This to me is used to great effect as in the beginning of the film we start off with two gruesome murders but then we jump back to discover what led the killer to commit the crimes. The film is very gruesome at times and has all the trappings of a typical revenge film but the true heart of the story is in the love shared between the two main characters. The things done to both of them are shocking and disturbing but through it all their love continues.
The acting in some scenes wasn`t amazing so while I greatly enjoyed the film overall, it fails to reach the heights of the very best of the genre (typically from South Korea). But make no mistake as a fan of revenge films I was genuinely surprised at how it tackled the subject from a different angle.
With lesser films you have your typical good and bad characters but in this film it challenges you with shades of grey. As much as you feel that retribution is warranted you also feel dirty at times in the way it`s delivered. The fact that it wallows in its grotesqueness is its way of also advocating against the very violence its showing you. It challenges you to think if there was no revenge taken would their life actually be better?
This film isn’t for everyone but if you’re fan of revenge cinema or extreme films definitely give this one a try. It will horrify and disgust you with scenes of violence but also impress you with scenes of beauty and peacefulness.