Revanche defied both the odds and the standard formula in earning Austria a richly deserved Oscar nomination for best foreign film. Director Götz Spielmanns latest deals with crime, a subject typically seen as insufficiently important for such an honor. Moreover, the main characters a rough-hewn ex-con (Johannes Krisch), a Ukrainian prostitute (Irina Potapenko), a small-town cop (Andreas Lust) and his wife (Ursula Strauss) arent freighted with symbolism. They stand only for themselves as fate and a bank robbery in which nothing can possibly go wrong (so of course it does) draw them into a shared orbit. These four wind up on a collision course, but rather than hurrying them toward impact, Spielmann allows the ingredients to steep and then simmer. Its a risky approach, but the patience he exhibits ratchets up the tension rather than causing it to dissipate. Even better, the conclusion, which seems to be on a steady march toward inevitability, manages to surprise without resorting to the sort of gimmickry found in the more typical fare usually honored by the Academy.
The movie unspools on Friday, June 26, at 5 and 7:30 p.m. at Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli. Tickets are $6 to $9.50. Learn about additional dates and screening times at 303-595-3456 or www.denverfilm.org.
June 26-July 2, 2009