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‘Rage’ review: Australian revenge thriller doubles as captivating whodunit

Intense and filled with emotion.

Rage is an Australian revenge thriller that tackles a number of different subjects. Noah and Madeline are a married couple that are victims of a violent home invasion. The results see Noah left in a coma and Madeline traumatized. Soon after coming out of his coma, Noah and Madeline learn one of their attackers is still free. This leads to a brutal tale of revenge that keeps audiences guessing.

While revenge thrillers can be fun, they also tend to follow a linear path. This is mainly due to their plot focusing on the vengeance and psychological aftermath but little else. (In all fairness, that alone is enough for a meaty story.) Rage covers a lot more ground as it deals with a marriage on the rocks, a mystery, and even has a story of redemption. All this along with the normal themes found in the genre.

Taking on too many topics is a risky proposition for any story. It is easy for things to become convoluted and lost. This never happens in Rage due to its excellent writing. The film takes its time to explain everything that is happening and to build its mystery and characters. It is a lot to digest, but it never becomes overwhelming.

These different stories also bring added emotion to Rage. The film goes beyond the need to see Noah and Madeline get their revenge. There is the baggage carried by Detective John Bennett and the disgraced  private investigator whose motivations are unclear. It is raw and unflinching and succeeds in drawing in the audience – even if they do not want to be.

Rage is also filled with some powerful physical moments. The home invasion is an intense series of scenes that borders on going too far. Director John Balazs takes things to the point of being uncomfortable yet not exploitive. It is good direction, but also very difficult to watch. That being said, it is a thin line and some people will be bothered.

'Rage' review: Australian revenge thriller doubles as captivating whodunit

The movie is a long one. The fact that it is dealing with so many topics is part of the explanation. Still, there are some moments in Rage that seem to go on longer than necessary. Sometimes, in building its mystery, the film unnecessarily revisits previous scenes. This is seen many times with as Detective Bennett is trying to solve the case.

Rage is a captivating revenge thriller that plays out differently than similar films. Here, the tension is built through an intriguing mystery filled with the trappings of a whodunnit. The plot provides some great twists and red herrings leading to a well built conclusion. All the while, it maximizes the emotion with its gripping storytelling. 

Rage releases on VOD February 23

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