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‘Vengeance’ Movie Review

Vengeance, what is it? Why do we seek it? Is it really a good thing? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves before we set out on that path. So, what is vengeance? Well, there are many terms for vengeance, from payback, and reprisal, to requital, and retaliation, but the one we want to focus on today is revenge. It’s revenge for a life taken too soon, and revenge on the people who took that life. Revenge can come in many forms, from ratting someone out who wronged you to a throw-down fight in the back alley or the ultimate revenge, a bullet to the head. From one of the creative minds behind The Office comes the Vengeance movie.

This story is about a young New York radio host attempting to start his own podcast on the disconnect of the human race due to cell phones. He is tasked with solving the mystery behind the death of one of the many women he had been hooking up with randomly.

Spoiler Free Synopsis of Vengeance the movie

Upon receiving a call in the middle of the night to inform him of her death, Ben Manalowitz (B.J. Novak) is quickly thrown into turmoil. Now, Ben must fly to Texas to meet with the woman’s family, attend her funeral, and solve her murder. What ensues is a series of misunderstandings and assumptions, which lead to utter hilarity for all. 

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(L to R) Clint Obenchain as Crawl, B.J. Novak as Ben Manalowitz and Boyd Holbrook as Ty Shaw in VENGEANCE, directed and written by B.J. Novak, released by Focus Features. Credit: Patti Perret/Focus Features./Courtesy of Patti Perret/Focus Features. © 2022 Focus Features, LLC.

Vengeance the movie makes us question whether “revenge” is worth it 

Why do we seek vengeance? As men, we feel that we must be able to protect those we love and hold dear to us. So when someone decides to hurt them, it is all we can do to keep ourselves from going over the deep end and landing ourselves in jail. Now that isn’t to say that we aren’t averse to getting revenge. In fact, certain people are more likely than others to seek revenge, especially those with sadistic tendencies. These people tend to get off on the suffering of others. They believe the old saying of “an eye for an eye,” which often leads to more hurt than relief. 

Knowing what we know now about vengeance and revenge, is it ever really a good thing to seek? The short answer is no. As stated above, vengeance never leads to relief from the pain, just more pain inflicted. While that pain may not seem to be affecting you right now, in time, the conscience will begin to weigh heavy from the act, and now you will need to deal with not only the initial loss but now the mental anguish of knowing you have caused the very pain on other innocent people that was inflicted on you. So, if you ever feel the need to seek vengeance on those that wronged you, it’s best to do it the legal way and live your life with a clean conscience.

Stupendous Vengeance the movie cast

Dorky and lovable, Ben Manalowitz (B.J. Novak) just wants to write for the New York Times and have his own successful podcast, one of which he has already achieved, Now, in an effort to fulfill the other dream, he needs to head down to Texas for the funeral of a young woman he only ever hooked up with a few times, and whose listed in his phone as ‘Abby Texas’. Upon arriving in Texas, Ben begins to immediately ingratiate himself, unbeknownst to himself, into the young woman’s family. Not being one to seek vengeance in the traditional sense, Ben agrees to help the family solve their daughter’s murder through the use of a podcast that will be heard by millions.Will the podcast work, or will it all blow up like a Prius, in his face?

B.J. Novak, the man behind this truly incredible dark comedy, is no stranger to the acting game, having appeared in 153 episodes of the US version of The Office, of which he directed five episodes, wrote fifteen, and produced 155 in various capacities. Novak has also appeared in several feature films and television shows, including several episodes of Ashton Kutcher’s Punk, ’dVengeance marks B.J. Novak’s feature film directorial debut. He also wrote, and executive produced it, making him an all-around certified powerhouse in Hollywood.

Ty Shaw (Boyd Holbrook) is a man on a mission. As the older brother in the family, Ty takes it upon himself to right the wrong that was done to his family with the death of his beloved sister Abilene. Ty is an everyman, he’s you, he’s me, he’s your next-door neighbor. He is the guy you want on your side when the breakdown of society starts. He’ll be there for you through thick and thin, in good times and in bad. This is precisely why Boyd Holbrook is the perfect choice to play him.

Born in September 1981, Boyd Holbrook had no desire to become an actor, hard to believe, I know. It wasn’t until he moved from his hometown to Louisville, KY that he first discovered theaters and the ability to make a living doing it. After being discovered by a modeling agency, Boyd spent some time as an underwear model before getting his big break in film. He has appeared in films such as Milk (2008), and Logan (2017), as well as on television in Hatfields & McCoys, and Narcos, playing all very strong male characters with courage and heart, making him the perfect choice to play Ty Shaw.

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Where do you go when you want to become famous but live in very Rural Texas? The only place you can go, the Quentin Sellers (Ashton Kutcher) Music Factory, the place where dreams become a reality. Fully believing in Abilene’s talent, Sellers recorded her sound for the record of the time and convinced her that her destiny would be in New York. While on the surface, it looks like he wants what’s best for her, but does he believe in her, or was he setting her up for failure? So, what exactly made Ashton right for this role?

Like Boyd, Ashton got his start as a model. According to his IMDB page, while attending the University of Towa, where he was enrolled in the Biochemical Engineering program, a talent scout spotted him and convinced him to pursue a career in modeling in New York. Taking a leap of faith, Ashton would drop out of university and move to New York. While there, he auditioned for the role of Kelso on That 70’s Show and the legend was born. While the vast majority of his roles have been goofy comedic characters, his turn as Steve Jobs in the movie Jobs is the one that makes him perfect for this role. Like Steve Jobs, Quentin Sellers is a visionary who can see the world and what it lacks. In this case, talent and a record of our being on this planet. But is that all he is really after?

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Issa Rae as Eloise in VENGEANCE, written and directed by B.J. Novak and released by Focus Features. Credit: Karen Kuehn / Focus Features./ CREDIT: Courtesy of Karen Kuehn / Focus Features. © 2022 Focus Features, LLC.

Wrapped up in a bow!

All in all, Vengeance is a movie about family and the lengths they will go to in order to ensure their loved ones are taken care of. We all have those moments in our lives where we wish we could go back and have a do-over, a fresh start, if you will. This is all that Abilene wanted when she returned home, and you know what? That’s ok. Not everyone is going to be the next Mariah Carey or Adele. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and once we understand those, we can go on to make waves in any ocean we want. 

In the end, Vengeance is a fun dark comedy from one of the most reactive minds in Hollywood. He brings to this film a class and nuance that Hollywood is so longing for. The film presented by B.J. Novak will have you laughing in your seat while also crying into the shoulder of the person that brought you to the movies that night, just be sure to look before you lean. Vengeance is sure to be the smash hit of the weekend and a jumping point to bigger projects for actor, director, producer, and writer, B.J. Novak. Hope to see you at the movies!

Vengeance, Twitter’s final verdict is in!

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