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Film Review: A Vigilante (2018)

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SYNOPSIS:

A vigilante helps victims escape their domestic abusers.

REVIEW:

2018 seemed to be the year for femme fatale films. A recent favorite of mine named “Peppermint” drew my interest towards the latest release “A Vigilante” directed by Sarah Daggar-Nickson starring actress Olivia Wilde in the role of Sadie. Sarah Daggar-Nickson makes her feature directorial debut in this out of the gate smash offering movie goers a dynamically emotionally charged action-drama.

More importantly, Sarah did her homework here relying on the advice and stories of abuse victims to bring a sense of compassion, reality and grounded substance to the film. Unlike empowered-woman films that have emerged (usually with a more sensationalist super-Heroine approach) the film “A Vigilante” takes a more melancholy realism direction focusing entirely on Sadie’s character and inner story.

Olivia Wilde embraces the role of Sadie with sheer believability as she struggles with a history of domestic abuse inflicted by her distant unnamed husband (played by actor Morgan Spector). The story here is unveiled over the course of the film by getting to the meat of Sadie’s talents which at present appears to be a confident set of defense moves and agility giving her the power to fight for abused woman. On opening, Sadie takes down a abusive husband per request of his wife. Often notified per way of word of mouth and discreet messaging, Sadie has placed herself into the role of a domestic savior equipped with an impressive set of effective fighting techniques learned over the course of her own tragic story. As it is stated, if they can’t fight back, she will fight for them.

Coming to the aid of women and abusive situations, Sadie appears long enough to get the job done and move on. A practical approach to disguising herself is presented subtlety enough to work in her favor without being to theatrical.

A vigilante, doesn’t resemble many of the like femme-fatale films in that it avoids over the top moves and fx work (aka Electra). Rather it presents itself as honest and solemn often following around Sadie as she moves thru her daily rituals, training and preparations. Olivia Wilde perfectly encapsulates this role of Sadie digging into the flaws and emotional discord that Sadie exudes during her self-driven missions.

As the movie moves thru the tales of abused woman telling their stories, we begin to learn more about Sadie’s own story and what led her to this newly empowered direction that while at times feels effortless is still haunted by the details of her past. All in all it’s a breath of fresh air considering that so may hero driven movies have arise thru modern cinema and comic book genres. Far removed from a Wonder woman situation, “A Vigilante” has a rooted approach that always stays considerate of its theme while still managing to keep the film a dynamically interesting action movie. It also embraces the genre of revenge films that have arise due to franchises such as I Spit on your Grave” without moving into the heavy extremes that those films often lean towards.

In research, Olivia studied the art of “Krav Maga” which is used as Sadie’s primary means of defending herself and inflicting quick moves capable of taking down her aggressors. It is also her prime choice of fighting strength used within the film. Called a form of martial arts, it’s primary purpose is to overpower bigger opponents using simpler but effective techniques.

Actor Morgan Spector, while taking a smaller role in this film as Sadie’s off the grid ex husband, is effective as the source of Sadie’s sorrid past and pain. We learn just enough about him to hate him as the film’s luminous antagonist. Never quite learning his character name, we are subjected to his emotionally driven forms of physical and mental abuse as Sadie sets off to discover his where about’s.

It is during this time we learn more about her personal tragedies thus providing a solid background and purpose to Sadie’s vigilante stance. While the film appears to fit nicely into the real world movements of scorned females taking stand, it still stands on its own as a dynamic action drama worthy of entertaining the masses. Impressive powerful, “A vigilante” takes a stand and makes its own powerful statement along the way (and one that we can feel good about). An excellent film indeed, make this your 1 to see!

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