Posted yesterday at 9:30am.
Made famous for his role as Ryan Howard in the American version of the cult series The office, BJ Novak directed, wrote the screenplay and starred in his first feature film of his career. But unlike his colleague John Krasinki, who found his way as a filmmaker with horror thrillers A quiet placehe drank more in film noir.
Although Revenge picks up codes and narrative patterns, it’s better to steer clear of them. So don’t expect a dense plot in the style of the classics Maltese Falcon and Chinatown, but a perversion of the genre. The investigation into the mysterious death of this uneventful young woman is just an excuse to talk about something else.
Enough to ? About the emptiness of modern society and that of this damned America that drives selfishness and loneliness among its inhabitants. Traveling the American South, our (anti)hero sometimes seems more interested in exploiting tragedies than solving them.
Rich and ambitious, the scenario is not lacking in pleasant dialogues that melt in the mouth. The whole thing is covered with a biting humor that never slips too much into satire and irony.
However, the wordy tone reminds us that this demonstration might have tasted better in a book. Brilliant words stay at the level of ideas that are difficult to embody on screen. Despite careful photography and appropriate music, the production lacks rhythm and effort to show the personality of its author.
The latter, however, has given himself a role that suits him like a glove. With his impassive face à la Buster Keaton, BJ Novak plays condescension with defiance. The complex relationships between the characters are central to the narrative and make the eclectic cast – which includes Ashton Kutcher and controversial singer John Mayer – shine.
Even if it ends up in a bit of a fishtail, Revenge represents a first quality performance for BJ Novak, who already handles words with great ease. A talent to follow.
Starring BJ Novak, Boyd Holbrook, Issa Rae