Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash
Cert: 18 Year: 2021 Length: 114 mins Language: Indonesian
Cinema Handout (PDF 192KB)
Score: 52.63% Attendance: 48
"Pulpy yet swooningly romantic, Edwin's entertaining thriller has perhaps the coolest film title in recent years; it also won the Golden Leopard at last year's Locarno film festival. Adapted from the popular novel by Eka Kurniawan – the first Indonesian writer to be nominated for the Booker prize – this is a bombastic time capsule of 1980s Indonesia that is all about the essence of manhood. Left impotent by a childhood trauma, Ajo can't get it up, but he can certainly raise his fists, earning a reputation as a daredevil who chases death just to prove his virility.
Paved with hair-raising motorcycle duels and even murder plots, Ajo's path towards self-destruction is cut short by his encounter with Iteung, a girl hired as the bodyguard for one of the young man's intimidation targets. Cue the perfect meet-cute where the pair engage in thrilling hand-to-hand combat against the spectacular backdrop of a concrete dumping ground. And like any classic love scene, the camera lingers on their contorting bodies, accentuating the sensuality as much as the speed of martial arts moves.
An adrenaline-pumping action fest that is ironic in many respects, 'Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash' swerves towards the mystical and the spiritual in the latter half, becoming an earnest and potent critique on the trappings of masculinity" – Phuong Le, Guardian.
I couldn't have said it better myself: an Indonesian action movie with a lot to say.
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