VENGEANCE starts off with witty dialogue, and writer B. J. Novak maintains this level throughout. Novak is also the director (and star) and he and editors Andy Canny, Hilda Rasula, and Plummy Tucker use short choppy takes to disorient the viewer. The plot is familiar: a cosmopolitan goes to the country and finds the unexpected and not the stereotypes--well, okay, some of the stereotypes. In this case, an intellectual New York Jew goes to rural West Texas and meets Texan weirdos. (Just to give one other example, in LOCAL HERO, a Houston urbanite goes to rural Scotland and finds the unexpected and not the stereotypes--well, okay, some of the stereotypes.)
Anyway, there's a great joke based on "Chekhov's gun", and our main character thinks himself superior, but doesn't know basic stuff; he doesn't know who won the Alamo, doesn't recognize the tune to "Deep in the Heart of Texas", and is constantly asking patronizing questions which get surprising deep answers. The whole movie is a murder mystery within this cultural experience.
Released theatrically 29 July 2022. Rating: low +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10
Film Credits: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11976532/reference
What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/vengeance_2022
Mark R. Leeper Copyright 2023 Mark R. Leeper