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Vengeance: A Love Story Review

Updated on June 26, 2020

Vengeance: A Love Story (2017) review

This was a rough one to watch, but a good movie nonetheless. I don’t think I will be re-watching it anytime soon though. This movie was about as dark and gritty as they come, showing you just how twisted the criminal justice system can be. I am not a Nicolas Cage fan by any means and he did not impress me in this film, but his acting and the slow pace at times are the only critiques I have. Overall I really enjoyed it, although it was difficult to stomach.

Vengeance: A Love Story was written by John Mankiewicz and Scott Windhauser. It was directed by Johnny Martin and stars Nicolas Cage, Anna Hutchison, Talitha Bateman and Don Johnson. It is based on the 2003 novel Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates. A young woman (Hutchison) and her young daughter (Bateman) are walking home from a party when they are viciously attacked and the woman is brutally raped.

The boys are arrested, but at the court hearing, their lawyer paints a picture that the boys had consentual sex with this notoriously promiscuous woman and the whole town seems to believe him. The lead police investigator (Cage) takes a liking to the woman and decides to take the law into his own hands.

The stars of the movie were the mother and daughter pair, in my opinion. I love the way the little girl protects her mom while she is resting in the hospital. The mother and daughter relationship really was a strong force in this movie. The acting from them was phenomenal. The mother shined as a believable victim, so distraught she could hardly keep herself together. The little girl gave a strong performance as well, in particular a scene towards the end when she thanks Cage for helping them. It was very heartfelt and made me tear up just a little.

Nicolas Cage just comes off as dry and stale to me. He says everything the same way and he is just boring, to be honest. This movie was no exception. I was thankful for his limited screen time. My only other critique is the pacing. It definitely felt a little slow and drawn out in parts. It felt like they had a 60 minute story to tell, and rather than add something interesting to the story to make it longer, they just dragged out each scene.

I would say at the end of the day this is a solid movie. Be warned, however, that it does involve a violent rape scene and if that is something you don’t want to see then skip this one. Other than that it's a good movie but not super great.

Film trivia

  • This film was released on September 15, 2017. It was produced by Patriot Pictures and distributed by FilmRise.
  • This movie was filmed in New York and Georgia.
  • At one point in pre-production Nicolas Cage was attached to direct but due to scheduling conflicts he gave the director's chair to Johnny Martin.
  • In one of the bar scenes, an extra is sitting in a booth on the other side of Nicolas Cage. This extra has a portrait tattoo of Nicolas Cage that was autographed by Cage at that same bar where they happened to meet a few months before.
  • This is the sixth time Cage has played a character named John (or Johnny).
  • This film was rated R in the US and was rated R18 in New Zealand for its violence, profanity and brutal rape sequence.


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