Tribeca Review: B.J. Novak’s Feature Directing Debut ‘Vengeance’

BJ Nowaki Americans seek the truth in their directorial debut dark comedy, the revenge, They have included an all-star cast of actors. issa rae, dove cameron, and Boyd Holbrook, a city-slicker in his mid-thirties, travels to Texas to film and get over him in a comedy of errors created by his own pride. The story is told in a way that only Novak knows how: with biting wit and fiery sarcasm.

Ben Manalowitz (BJ Novak) is a lonely man in NYC. With a new job at The New Yorker, and Eloise (Issa Rae), an assistant editor, she’s on top of the world. When he parties with musician John Mayer and they talk about their sexual conquests, he tries to come up with ideas for a successful podcast. During the night he receives a call from Ty Shaw (Boyd Holbrook), mentioning his sister Abilene Shaw (Leo Tipton), whose body was found in an oil field and died of an overdose.

Ty swears that his sister loved him and that Ben is her boyfriend. Feeling bad about the situation, he leaves New York and goes to the funeral of his “girlfriend” in rural Texas. When he arrives he meets the rest of the family, including Abilene’s mother Sharon (Jay Smith Cameron), two sisters Paris and Kansas City, younger brother El Stupido and Granny Carroll (Loanne Stephens). Ty believes his sister was murdered and asks Ben to help him seek revenge. After meeting the family, he is inspired to turn the whole ordeal into a podcast: Dead White Girl. Armed with his recorder and talented at extracting information, he plans to get to the bottom of what happened to Abilene.

In the end, the revenge is one The coming-of-age story is about a 30-something man who is finding his voice. Through this story, Novak injects himself and his frustrations with this country, and how the word “truth” has gotten thinner as the United States divides itself into blue versus red. He funnels this idea through the characters we meet. In the end he learns that the truth is different for everyone and there is nothing he can do about it. Ben also comes to understand more about women and their relationships with them, and that is why the only job of the various female characters is to teach him, and to be in the background of his life. They are there to help him, but they are not allowed to help themselves. At least the movie admits it’s objective

There is a moment in each act that slows the pace, this is due to the character Quentin Sellers (Ashton Kutcher) and his philosophical mumbo-jumbo monologues. To be honest, it didn’t bother me at all because there was some precision in the dialogue, and it shows Kutcher playing against type. He is acting some master class that I dare say he is by far the best he has been as a long dark and fast music producer. Novak really gave the actor a mature role where Kutcher can show the full range of his talent.

What Ben learns is that everything is bigger in Texas, including his expectation and his reality. Texans can be known as collectivists who believe in family. He connects with Abilene through old videos of her singing and gains a sense of closeness to her that he refused to give up when she was alive. It is through the spirit of cultural exchange that Ben comes closer to his family. They sometimes do not understand each other, but they relate to the feeling of grief over Abilene and the love of her life. the revenge It is not necessarily about who is smarter or more truthful, but rather self-awareness and finding balance within oneself and in relation to others. Not agreeing to disagree as such, but those who intellectualize everything (like Ben) without making room for love are devoid of humanity, like those who love without intelligence (Shaw).