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Rage (A Movie Review)

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

RAGE (2020)

Starring Matt Theo, Hayley Beveridge, Richard Norton, Tottie Goldsmith, Natasha Maymon, Tony Kotsopoulos, Jasper Bagg, Nic Stevens, Melissa Barlas, Josette Bradley, Steve Gration, Stephen Degenaro, Marcus Merkoski, Erin Profilio, Adam Rowland, Raquel Rose Potenza, Gabriel Carrubba, Frankie Holzer, Jye Hawley, Sunny S. Walia and Sophie Thurling.

Screenplay by Michael J. Kospiah.

Directed by John Balasz.

Distributed by Gravitas Ventures. 143 minutes. Rated R.

I’d like to give the Australian independent film Rage – now available on demand and through streaming – credit for taking a typical home invasion scenario and doing something a little more thoughtful and restrained with the genre. In fact, it does just that, and is rather intriguing until it gets bogged down in its own minutiae, lasting an insanely long nearly two-and-a-half hours for what is, at heart, an exploitative b-movie about the ripples of sudden violence.

However, had they trimmed a good half hour or 45 minutes from the running time, Rage would have been pretty darned good. As it is, it’s an interesting miss, an intriguing idea that eventually gets bogged down in its own baggage.

Which is a shame, because Rage does not go crazy with the violence (although the crime itself is rather grisly), nor does it completely obsess on the revenge plot. Instead, it shows how a couple – Noah (Matt Theo) and Madeline (Hayley Beveridge) – deals with sudden violence which leaves her sister dead, him being shot multiple times and her being raped.

Noah and Madeline had their share of problems even before the violent interlude. They are shown feeling distant and arguing over silly stuff like the correct way to use a toothpaste tube in the leisurely intro section. She is feeling distant and he is feeling unloved, to the point that he is in the middle of an affair when the crime happens, and only arrives after much of the violence has taken place.

Can this marriage be saved?

I love the fact that Rage does not devolve into a blood-thirsty revenge thriller – though some measure of revenge is extracted, even if it is possibly in error.

Despite its title, Rage does not rage against the injustice and randomness of the situation. It is more of a slow burn, a grim meditation on a troubled marriage that is nearly exploded by an act of fate.

Sadly, as stated before, eventually the slow burn becomes just a bit too slow. Eventually the point is made, and the film just keeps going, and going, and going. Even a darkly tragic climactic sequence feels sapped of its power just because too much time has been spent on following MacGuffins and trying for an extreme form of marriage counseling.

Still, much of Rage is suspenseful and the police procedural aspects are intriguing – though I don’t quite buy the fact that the lead detective (Richard Norton) is quite that obsessed with this one crime. It’s a horrific crime, certainly, but the guy is a detective in a big city like Melbourne, he can’t get that invested in every terrible crime he must investigate.

However, in the end, you are little surer whether the marriage can be saved than you were in the beginning, and there is at least the possibility that justice will not be done, which leaves the audience to wonder why they have taken this long ride.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2021 All rights reserved. Posted: February 23, 2021.

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