Director: Emerald Fennell
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Laverne Cox, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge, Max Greenfield, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chris Lowell, Sam Richardson, Molly Shannon, Clancy Brown
Runtime: 1 hr 54 mins
Rating: NC16 (Coarse Language & Sexual References)
Released By: UIP
Opening Day: 18 March 2021
Synopsis: From ground breaking director Emerald Fennell (Killing Eve) comes a delicious new take on revenge. Everyone said Cassie (Carey Mulligan) was a promising young woman ... until a mysterious event abruptly derailed her future. But nothing in Cassie’s life is what it appears to be: she’s wickedly smart, tantalizingly cunning, and she’s living a secret double life by night. Now, an unexpected encounter is about to give Cassie a chance to right the wrongs of the past in this thrilling and wildly entertaining story.
The last time a woman scared us this much, it was The Bride from Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films. Portrayed by Uma Thurman, the angry lady was became a killing machine after being wronged by a man. Now, we have a new woman sending chills down our spine: Carey Mulligan’s Cassie Thomas.
In fact, the protagonist in this feature directorial debut by Emerald Fennell is more terrifying simply because the character may be someone you know, and is capable of executing revenge in ways that are 100% possible. Cassie is an angry woman who is seeking to avenge her best friend, who became an unfortunate victim of rape during their medical school days. She may seem like a bored service staff at a café in the day, but she turns into a fearless vigilante at night, hunting down sleazy men by pretending to be a vulnerable drunk woman. Good luck to the guys who try to get hanky panky with her, because they will be duly punished.
Mulligan delivers a grounded and relevant performance that has been rightfully recognised at several film awards. Her Cassie is a cool headed woman who has suffered very traumatic experiences in her younger days. She is a loner who still lives with her parents, a girl who is capable of dressing herself up to be very attractive to bring out the worst in men, and an angry individual determined to right the world of wrongs.
The movie seems to be a black comedy at first, with familiar faces like Adam Brody and Christopher Mintz-Plasse appearing as douchebags who try to be funny with Cassie. But you know things are getting serious when Cassie gets down to business to teach these guys a lesson. We do not see what happened to them (we don’t imagine it to be a pretty sight), but you can be sure they were duly dealt with.
The 113-minute film goes on to show how Cassie hunts down people from her past to let them know she hasn’t forgotten about their wrongdoings: an old friend (Alison Brie) who didn’t believe that her friend was raped, the medical school dean (Connie Britton) who dismissed her friend’s rape case, and the lawyer (Alfred Molina) who harassed her friend into dropping her charges.
Fennell’s screenplay doesn’t play out like a typical thriller where the protagonist has an ultimate antagonist to eliminate. The people we see Cassie punishing are not out of this world baddies, which makes the story so frightening real – knowing that #MeToo incidents are probably happening on a daily basis around us.
The movie injects a rom com element by introducing Cassie’s former classmate (Bo Burnham), who seems like a decent gentleman. They fall in love and you wonder whether this leads to a happy ending.
Unfortunately, the movie will end on a queasy but heartbreaking note. Without giving too much away, you will walk out of the cinema thinking about how sexual abuse has is part of our society, and the damage it has caused in many promising young lives.
(Carey Mulligan's Cassie Thomas is a woman. Hear her roar in this relevant and timely revenge flick)
Review by John Li