Relaxing the codes of the acerbic teen movies of the 1990s to the filters and demons of the Instagram generation, “Si tu me venges” (“Do Revenge” in VO) delivers a pop and cruel orgy that remains on the surface of its characters.
For the past few days, Netflix counters have been panicking, propelling a teen movie retro that seems straight out of the 1990s. Directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, Do Revenge launches us into a swanky private establishment in Miami, where the fallen high school queen makes a pact with a newcomer to get revenge on their respective enemies.
Recasting the Machiavellian argument of The Stranger of the Nord Express by Patricia Highsmith with the codified tools of highschool movie general public, the film unfolds the vendetta of these two teenage girls whom everything opposes over a school year enamelled with rites of passage, and unravels the archetypes to the filters (and demons) of the Instagram generation.
Discovery in the series RiverdaleCamila Mendes embodies a prom queen from a popular class and victim of slut shaming after her boyfriend Max (Austin Abrams, seen in Euphoria) released a video of their antics. Revealed by the last two seasons of Stranger Things, Maya Hawke embraces the role of the nerdy teenager who reinvents herself to climb the ladder of cool after being grounded by a malicious rumor. In the corridors of the school, we also meet Alisha Boe, the unforgettable Jessica of 13 Reasons Whyas a traitorous ex-best friend, and Sarah Michelle Gellar, star of buffy the vampire slayeras a relaxed Headmistress.
A programmed algorithmic success
With its cast resemblingavengers current teenage series hatched by one of the most striking faces of 90’s productions and his soundtrack aligning the essentials of contemporary pop (from Rosalía to Billie Eilish), Do Revenge knocks down all the trappings of algorithmic success. Caressing the spirit of the times to its retro tropism, multiplying low blows and reversals of the situation with a poisonous inconsistency, the film offers itself as a guilty pleasure capable of shaking the canvas in a kitsch explosion… before falling into oblivion?
It’s that if we have fun with his acerbic pikes and his improbable costumes, the golden bubble in which his characters bathe leaves us at a distance from their affects, when the frisee arrogance that they sweat profusely does not does not make them frankly unsympathetic. Lazily waving contemporary markers whose implications he struggles to unfold, Do Revenge fails to acquire a depth commensurate with its apparent subject, which is a pact of sisterhood to fight against a toxic masculinity.
Approaching high school as a cruel micro-society governed by the race for popularity and the tyranny of appearances, the film sometimes also forgets to drop the masks of its characters, an ambiguous duo whose thwarted friendship – even repressed attraction – yet constitutes the beating heart of the project.
Do Revenge by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, with Camila Mendes, Maya Hawke… On Netflix.