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VENGEANCE (2022, USA) – 6.5/10

BJ Novak is an American actor, screenwriter and director who is remembered as Ryan Howard by all those who followed the American version of the series “The Office”. Novak was also the screenwriter of about fifteen episodes of the cult series, he directed and produced several of them, and he took on all these tasks in the black humor thriller premiered at the festival in Tribeca. This time he is New York journalist Ben Manalowitz, who will be woken up in the middle of the night by a call from a man who introduced himself as Ty Shaw (Boyd Holbrook) and is calling him from a small town in Texas. A voice on the other end of the phone will tell Ben that his sister, also Ben’s girlfriend Abby, has died, but the problem is that Ben doesn’t have a girlfriend.

And he doesn’t even remember who Abby is because he’s one of those narcissistic, self-righteous, conceited city guys who has combinations with more than one woman, and it turns out that Abby was also in the combination for a while. Ty will trap him and Ben will agree to go to her funeral in Texas pretending to be her boyfriend, where Ty will reveal to him that Abby was probably killed and that the culprit is the Mexican dealer Sancholo. He will ask Ben to help the family not only in the investigation of the crime, but also in revenge against the dealer responsible for the death of the young singer. Ben, who immediately put Abby’s family in the drawer of the worst stereotypes of people from passive parts of America that those from metropolitan areas tend to have, will recognize the whole situation for self-promotion and eventual fame.

Admittedly, this will be helped by the behavior and the impression given by the family whose members really behave like stereotypical primitive hillbillys. Ben immediately comes up with the idea that he could do a podcast about the investigation of Abby’s murder, and at the same time he plans to make fun of the people of Texas on the show, believing that this way he can finally become great. But, as is usually the case, nothing will turn out the way Ben assumed, but that’s why “Vengeance” has turned into a film that dances to the limit on clichés and stereotypes about American people from cities and people from passive regions. Of course, until the end Ben will be avenged by the superficial, underestimating and even mocking view of the team he will meet in Texas.

Nevertheless, it is a film that even solidly pokes fun at the expense of today’s time, vanity and superficiality, in which everyone will post a quote by Ivo Andrić on Facebook, regardless of the fact that they have never read anything by him. It’s a film that solidly pokes fun at shallow guys like Ben who think they’ve drunk all the wisdom in the world and are convinced that their way of life is correct, and because of that he has the right to salt everyone’s brains and tell them how and why. It is the film that ironizes today’s time, in which practically everyone has the opportunity to tell their story, to broadcast podcasts about anything and everything, regardless of the fact that most of it has no quality and value, but that is less important. Finely, Novak hits the spirit of the times in America and in the world, which still tries to copy it in practically everything, and if for nothing mentioned above, “Vengeance” is worth watching at least because of the unexpected episode of Ashton Kutcher.