One needs to be careful with Swedish films. Recently, the suggestion was made on my social media that I review Do Revenge. When I encounter a film that I have yet to hear of, I tend to go straight to Amazon Prime. If it is not available for free, I rent it, a feature that Netflix has yet to offer. You might want to rethink that strategy if you are reading this, Netflix. Anyway, my keyword search on Amazon brought up a movie of the same name from 2018. Luckily, it was available for free on that platform. As it began, I immediately noted the benighted, snow lined fjords, and the names of the players with several them having a “ø” in them, and I though, uh-oh. Then the dialog began and I thought, double uh-oh. To be fair, I typically watch movies at home with my dinner, so I did not want to divide my attention any further than usual by having to read subtitles. After some fumbling, I made my way back to Netflix and found the recently released Netflix version. Actually, I have no idea if the Swedish one inspired this one. Heck, it might have even been Norwegian. Who knows? Who cares?
Drea (Camila Mendes), the main character in this rendering of Do Revenge, begins as the social queen of an ultra-elite Miami preparatory school called Rosehill Country Day School. It would be useful if you could picture the high school scenes in Clueless (1995), though, remarkably, with even more extravagance and trust funds. Speaking of extravagance in Do Revenge, it is the end of junior year and Drea is being feted by her friends at her birthday party. Her boyfriend and most popular guy in school, Max (Austin Abrams), takes her for some private time after the party. While they are alone, he pressures her into making an explicit video for him while they are apart for the summer. As soon as he gets it, he uploads it to everyone in school. Though he denies it the next day, it is pretty obvious what happened and she decks him. Doing so gets her sent to the headmaster’s (Sarah Michelle Gellar) office. The headmaster reminds her of her tenuous place at the school with her scholarship status. To make up for violent act, she is forced to volunteer at a tennis camp over the summer. While there, she meets Eleanor (Maya Hawke). Eleanor sees a kindred spirit in Drea. Drea, on the other hand, is still fuming about what happened during the school year. It is not until Drea needs a ride with a broken-down car that she begins to let her guard down to Eleanor. This is the start of their friendship, made all the more prominent when Eleanor says that she will be attending Rosehill this year. She is doing this despite the fact that it is the school also attended by Carissa (Avi Capri). Carissa is the girl to whom Eleanor came out, and who also broke Eleanor’s heart by not standing by her when she was outed. On the first day of school, Max, now senior class president, tries downplay the incident with Drea before the whole school by starting a women’s rights group. It only increases Drea’s desire for revenge even more. Remember what I said about kindred spirits. In talking together, Drea and Eleanor hatch a plan to get even with the person that had wronged them. However, since it might be too easily revealed what had happened, they decide to get revenge on the person who had wronged the other in a vengeance by proxy situation. Better yet, call it a vengeance swamp. They believe this is the best way to make sure their names are not sullied by the ordeal, particularly Drea, who does not want anything to ruin her chances of getting into Yale. The first one they take down is Carissa, which proves easy considering she is growing the material for illegal drugs in the school’s farm club. The stash is revealed following Drea and Eleanor spiking a school dinner with psychedelic mushrooms. Max proves to be a little trickier. The plan is to expose Max as the cheat that he is by sending evidence of his philandering to everyone in the school. This comes off as they hoped, but Max’s behavior is quickly explained away by his sycophants as being a becoming trait of the modern man. Not only does Drea’s plan backfire, but she is called to the headmaster’s office where she is told that she had been rejected by Yale. Adding to the downward spiral is Eleanor. Part of her side of things had been to get in with the popular crowd. It appears that she got a little too deep, with seemingly being genuinely touched when they throw her a surprise birthday party. Drea suspects something is up and it is confirmed when she crashes said party. There is a falling out between the two, which leads Drea back to Carissa. Getting Carissa’s side of what happened between her and Eleanor makes Drea realize she has made one crucial oversight: the young girl responsible for outing Eleanor and ruining her life had been Drea. Indeed, everything that had transpired had been part of Eleanor’s elaborate plan to get back at Drea. Eleanor takes it further, threatening to frame Drea’s mother for drug possession if Drea does not follow her instructions in getting dirt on their classmates at an upcoming night of debauchery. I suppose everyone has their limits as Eleanor begins to feel regret. As such, at the soiree, Drea and Eleanor have their final fight before teaming up once more to finally take down Max. With the job complete, they ride off into a Miami sunset.
There is a lot going on in Do Revenge that frankly I did not understand. For example, if these are high school students, where the heck are the parents? I get that we are talking entitled rich kids, but do real-life equivalents (if such a thing exists) have a mom and dad (or whatever their arrangement) that let them throw parties with enough cocaine to make Tony Montana (Al Pacino) blush? And are there really schools like Rosehill? Such questions are not the only things that took me out of this movie. The other thing was the main characters. Drea is basically an anti-heroine, and Eleanor is nearly a psychopath. Yet, we are supposed to be permissive of this behavior because, as Eleanor puts it, all teenage girls are psychopaths? That is not what God asks of us. In general, I am getting a little tired of anti-heroes. They have become too common in Hollywood because production companies have told themselves that people want characters to which audiences can relate. Who has not wanted revenge on a person that has wronged us? To be fair to the film, while Drea and Eleanor do some pretty horrific things to one another, they make up in the end. Forgiveness is another key component in Faith. However, in the buildup to this moment they act selfishly to achieve their own goals. I am sorry, but this is not something I am going to celebrate. I will admit to some cleverness in the plot, but on the whole I do not like seeing these kinds of free-for-alls.
Aside from awful people doing awful things in Do Revenge, there are a whole host of issues that make it not get my recommendation. There is teenaged drug use and sex. I honestly do not know if this movie was meant to be taken seriously. As such, neither should you.