revanche_ver2A nominee for best foreign language film at last winter’s Academy Awards, the strangely eloquent Austrian film “Revanche” (translation: “Revenge”) is a tale of two couples whose paths cross in a tragically unexpected way.

Alex (Johannes Krisch), a security guard of sorts at a Viennese brothel, falls for one of the working girls, a Ukrainian prostitute named Tamara (Irina Potapenko). She falls back. The problem: The power-brokers who run the operation don’t like the, er, staff to date.

So Alex comes up with a scheme to free them both. He’ll rob a bank and they’ll ride off together into some sunset somewhere.

Robert  (Andreas Lust) is a small-town cop who happens to get in the way, almost by accident. Destiny comes full circle when Alex becomes involved with Robert’s unhappy wife, Susanne (Ursula Strauss).

Tidily directed by Gotz Spielmann, “Revanche” is a cynical contemplation of the sometimes chaotic nature of fate. Hardly the “feel-good” film of the summer, it nonetheless casts a potent spell of wary humanism that’s well worth checking out. (In German with subtitles)

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Eleanor Ringel Cater

Eleanor Ringel Cater

Eleanor Ringel Cater, long-time movie critic for The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, also has been a regular contributor to CNN, MSNBC, Entertainment Weekly, Headline News and WXIA, Atlanta's NBC affiliate, and a columnist for TV Guide.