Reviewed by Ishrat Jahaiara Quazi : Trigger warning: mentions rape and assault.“RAGE” was a hard watch. This is the first movie I’ve watched by Director John Balazs and I have to say that the movie stays true to the blending of genres of home invasion, affairs, and revenge. That’s why it’s called a thriller because many genres overlap into making a truly anxiety-filled movie.
There isn’t a moment where I’m relaxed when watching Rage because even when there are no explicit actions taking place, there’s an eeriness that just won’t disappear. It’s the feeling you get when it’s light outside but heavy fog is surrounding a town. You know nothing is happening but, the feeling that something could happen is what keeps you hooked to the screen.
Most movies are a team effort and this one specifically speaks to the immense talent of the writer, director, actors, and more. The music score, produced by Ken Chen Lim, has to be the winner in my books because his choice of music isn’t random. The soundtrack keeps the story going especially when there are no dialogues. Many thrillers and horror movies try to pack films with unnecessary sounds but this movie doesn’t abuse soundtracks for the sake of it. I love soundtracks in movies and the “Rage” soundtrack carries the film on its shoulders.
Moving on to the actual plot which I haven’t mentioned yet, even though it’s been two paragraphs already. The movie starts by introducing Noah(Theo) and Madeline(Beveridge)’s failing relationship. It’s a wide-screen movie filmed at a low angle, and they keep incorporating mid to long shots. It doesn’t zoom out of the scenes too far to disassociate you from the story. And, that’s what made them more graphic scenes in the movie so hard to watch. The introduction of the couple moves to the scene of Noah cheating on Madeline with a co-worker, while she’s hanging out with a friend at the couple’s house, separately.
Shortly after that, the home invasion takes place and the movie doesn’t shy away from the details. It’s important to note that the writer, Michael J. Kospiah, and Balazs don’t take advantage of having a rape scene in their movie. It’s such a sensitive topic for many people, including me, and when I’m watching a movie that includes scenes like that I always wonder if it was necessary. However, while it feels like the scene of Madeline being raped by the home invaders lasts forever, it was only a matter of 30 seconds maybe? It’s an impactful scene because it has a major effect on Madeline’s character moving forward in the story. It also impacts Noah because their relationship was already failing but he never left. After the whole incident, where he gets shot in the process, he feels guilty for not being a better husband. He wakes up from a coma and instantly looks for Madeline. The couple was in separate care, and the detective who’s trying to find the invaders and murderers of Madeline’s friend tries to communicate with her but she is still extremely traumatized from the whole situation. And, understandingly so because it was a horrible situation to be in.
The actors were really convincing. That’s the bare minimum for any movie but, you’d be surprised that the bare minimum is often too much to ask for. I think Theo and Beveridge were great for the roles along with the whole cast because they made the characters their own. Their lack of chemistry and abundance of annoyance towards each other is there for the first half of the movie. And, following the events, Noah is very remorseful towards Madeline as she tries to get back to a normal life. ‘Tries’ is the keyword here because she barely even speaks and is isolated for the most part. I think the color choice in the film also plays a massive role in setting the mood. They stay in a bluish-green and sometimes yellow hue which further gives you the feel of exactly how eerie and isolated the characters were.
By the way, the detective isn’t that original because, like most detectives in thrillers, John(Norton) has a never-ending saga of how he didn’t catch that one criminal so many years ago who happens to be exactly like the current case. But, I don’t think this movie is that much about the detective as it is about the aftermath of Noah and Madeline’s relationship.
This movie is a slow-burn with an emphasis on slow but, if you’ve got an attention span I don’t see why you won’t like this movie. The first half is more interesting. I’m used to watching 3-hour Bollywood movies and always find myself annoyed at how long they are. This movie is no different because 2 hours is so long for my non-existent attention span. At the same time, everything comes together so beautifully that I could cry. It’s really hard to get thrillers right. But, Rage got it right. The suspense, the drama, the mystery, it’s all there. This movie wiped the thriller genre clean in a good way.
Pre-order RAGE on iTunes: http://apple.co/3nVlugC
- Directed by: John Balazs
- Written by: Michael J. Kospiah
- Starring: Matt Theo, Hayley Beveridge, Richard Norton, Jasper Bagg, Tottie Goldsmith.