VENGEANCE is a gripping, well-acted and at times deep mystery about two clashing cultures. despite morally uplifting content, it leans toward a romantic, non-Christian worldview that ends in a bloody act of revenge. VENGEANCE also has a lot of strong bad language and some light political correctness elements. That said, VENGEANCE presents many avenues for reflection on the nature of justice, ethics, and social divisions. However, extreme caution is recommended.
Dominant worldview and other worldview content/elements:
A strong romantic worldview blames society for a young woman’s suspicious and fatal drug overdose and ultimately involves an act of lawless revenge and “border justice” that is partly justified, with light political correctness content that depicts sometimes Texas and its people in a negative light, and local and state police in Texas are portrayed in a bad light, but most of it comes from a well-meaning New York Jew who has shown that he had its own moral flaws and some of the PC stereotypes are destroyed which is mitigated by some strong morals about seeking justice for an apparent victim and exposing the sins of all kinds of people, including the villain, who is unknown until the end, a character shows kindness and compassion to others, including his clients for whom he tries to fulfill their dreams, and the mother of the victim in the story app appears as a nice and wise person and the flawed hero befriends other people in the movie, even if they are from another world than him
36 profanities (including more than 20 “f” words), two GD profanities, seven mild profanities (such as several OMGs and one “for god’s sake”)
A bloody gunshot death occurs at the end, a small bomb blows up an electric rental car (but no one is injured), a young woman dies of a drug overdose in a remote field where she uses her smartphone to attempt to call for help, a man drags another young woman dying of a drug overdose out of a tent into the same lonely field, and a threat occurs
Implied fornication scene when an unmarried couple wake up together in bed and references to fornication in discussions of hookup culture and the protagonist’s dating habits, and when he and his friend talk about the girls they are with go out and have sex (the discussion isn’t verbally rude, just super superficial, but that’s the point being made about the two men’s flawed character)
Alcohol consumption :
Frequent alcohol consumption
Smoking and/or drug use and abuse:
Smoking briefly and the plot involves a fatal drug overdose which may have been murder and a woman passed out from drugs in one scene and a man drags her off to be dumped in an oil field where four police jurisdictions meet, so all the police pass responsibility when it comes to investigating homicides there; and,
Strong and diverse immorality includes lying and deceit.
VENGEANCE is a mystery thriller about a superficial, condescending and ambitious New York magazine writer who is prompted by a West Texas man to investigate the death of his sister from a mysterious drug overdose because the brother thinks mistakenly that his sister was the writer’s girlfriend when she lived in New York. VENGEANCE is a gripping, well-acted, and at times deep mystery about two clashing cultures, but it has a lot of strong bad language, leans toward a romantic, non-Christian worldview, and ends with a bloody act of revenge and murder which is, to some extent, presented as justified.
BJ Novak, who also wrote and directed VENGEANCE, plays New York magazine writer Ben Manalowitz. Ben works for The New Yorker magazine but plans to start his own podcast.
The film opens with Ben at a fancy party where he discusses his love life with another friend. Neither man is ready to settle down, so they both play on the court. As their conversation continues, it becomes clear that the two men are quite superficial.
The next morning, after sleeping with one of the women he was dating, Ben gets a call from Ty Shaw, the West Texas brother of a young woman Ben dated in New York, Abby. Ty has the false impression that Ben was Adele’s boyfriend. He tells that Ben Abby was found dead of an overdose. He shames Ben into coming to Texas for Abby’s funeral.
After the funeral, Ty tells Ben that Abby would never have taken drugs. He wants Ben’s help in tracking down the person or person responsible for Abby’s death and helping him kill them. Of course, Ben doesn’t want any of this, but he agrees to help Ty find Abby’s killer. However, he thinks Abby’s story may be the first multi-part story for his next podcast, and he pitches the story to his podcast company’s editor as a sociological investigation into the factors behind Abby’s death. He begins interviewing people on tape and watching videos of Abby.
As Ben gets to know Abby, her family, and the other people in his life, he decides that Abby’s death could indeed have been murder or manslaughter. Thus, he focuses on finding the killer(s), even though his decision may put his own life in danger.
VENGEANCE is a gripping, well-acted and at times deep mystery about two clashing cultures. The hero discovers that the deceased girl’s body was likely dumped, but it was dumped in a notorious isolated section of town where the jurisdictions of four local and national police organizations overlap. The hero belongs to each organization, but the police authorities all pass the buck. That’s why the victim’s brother tells the hero that the police are no help. This fact becomes key to what happens when the hero finally finds the person responsible for dumping the victim’s body and confronts the person. What the hero finds is a nihilistic killer who tells him that even if they bring him to justice for the victim’s death, society will begin to blame the victim, the legal authorities will find it difficult to pursue their case. and people will end up absolving him of all responsibility and even pointing fingers at the hero because they will think the hero is also partly to blame because of his hip lifestyle when he used the victim for sex when she lived in New York. Some of what the killer says is true, but he says it in such a dishonest and self-righteous way that the hero is rightfully outraged.
Ultimately, despite the hero’s moral awakening, VENGEANCE leans toward a romantic worldview, as even the hero comes to see that factors in American society contributed to the young woman’s death. It has been a theme in many modern mystery thrillers, from short stories and books to movies and television programs. In many modern crime thrillers, for example, human society has become so corrupt because the corruption of human beings has gotten out of hand in many ways. Indeed, everyone is now guilty. Ironically, this theme may bring the creators of these mystery thrillers, and the consumers of these thrillers, back to the biblical notion that, as God himself says in Genesis 8:21, “The intention of the heart of man is evil from his youth.
However, VENGEANCE leans towards a romantic worldview at the end, as it ends on a note of violent revenge. In fact, the hero crosses the line of violent revenge, a line he told the victim’s brother he would never cross. So while the hero finds some justice for the victim, he violates the rules of justice and vengeance that God lays out for us in his word, the Bible. This fits into the notions of anarchy that a romantic worldview can portray or generate. VENGEANCE also has a lot of strong violence, politically correct content, drug references, and a violent bloody gunfight at the end.
That said, the negative content of VENGEANCE is mitigated by a few strong moral elements. For example, although the hero has conflicts with the people of Texas, including the victim’s family, and vice versa, the film sometimes shows the hero and the Texans reconciling some of their differences. For example, there are heartwarming moments between the hero and the victim’s mother and younger brother. Additionally, a character demonstrates insight, kindness, and compassion towards others, including his business clients, for whom he tries to fulfill their dreams. Thus, VENGEANCE is not as simple as it seems. It offers many avenues for reflection on the nature of justice, ethics and social divisions. However, extreme caution is still required.
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