'Do Revenge' review: A fun spin on a familiar ride

At this point, we get introduced to the ‘awkward’ but bold Eleanor, who comes to Rosehill to face the crushing memory of her first crush outing her in public.

Published: 25th September 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th September 2022 05:21 PM   |  A+A-

Do Revenge

A still from the movie 'Do Revenge'

Express News Service

At one point in Do Revenge, Eleanor (Maya Hawke) declares, “Teenage girls are psychopaths.” Over the years, many filmmakers have subscribed to this by giving us high-school films that are less coming-of-age, and more ‘coming of rage’.

Topics explored range from bullying to ostracisation and stereotyping, which results in rebellion and/or outbursts and, occasionally, even murder— Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why are proof. The latest high-school drama, Do Revenge, on Netflix isn’t very different.

All of the boxes get ticked, except murder, although a heavy influence of Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train is evident. In a sense, this film is Strangers on a Train-meets-Mean Girls-meets-John Tucker Must Die, but it never forgets to have fun despite its convoluted narrative.

Drea Torres (Camila Mendes) is the Queen Bee of Rosehill Country Day, a quintessential American high school. She is in the top clique, dating the head boy, Max (Austin Abrams), and is everything every girl wants to be until she isn’t. When Max leaks a private video of hers, and the school doesn’t hold him accountable, Drea becomes a social paraiah.

At this point, we get introduced to the ‘awkward’ but bold Eleanor, who comes to Rosehill to face the crushing memory of her first crush outing her in public. Hitchcock comes in at this point, with Drea and Eleanor deciding to recreate Strangers on a Train in Rosehill. If bringing down Max is straight out of John Tucker Must Die, then the girls figuring out their priorities reminds you of films like Mean Girls and Clueless.

To her credit, director Kaitlyn keeps the narrative upbeat while revelling in the tropes and occasionally subverting them, even though the central objective is to show us the psyches of present-day high school-goers.

We see how labels about sexuality are easily used to defend despicable behaviour. We see how optics matter a lot in this world. Of course, these kids are privileged and know how to play their cards. It is interesting to see the makers take a dig at how ‘wokeness’ is a joke in many places.

For example, the subplot of how patriarchy, when questioned, overcompensates with performative wokeness, is a terrific layer. The film never goes too deep and this is by design. Even though the content is generic, there are flashes of ingenuity, complemented with commendable performances and impressive production values. Let’s just call it a typical Netflix film, and be glad that there is not too much to complain about.      

Do Revenge
Director: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Genre: Drama
Platform: Netflix
Language: English


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