It’s hard to imagine a more picturesque locale for a tale of sexual perversion and violent retribution than the mountain-flanked lakeside resort in Norwegian writer-director Kjersti Steinsbø’s slow-burn thriller “Revenge.” The story gradually finds its way to a predictable place, but the company’s interesting along the way, and the scenery can’t be beat.
Siren Jørgensen stars as Rebekka, who arrives at a small-town luxury hotel claiming to be a travel writer working on a story about proprietors Morten (Frode Winther) and Nina (Maria Bock).
Steinsbø doesn’t reveal Rebekka’s secret right away. Instead, the movie builds tension by making her look like a coldblooded psychopath stalking an upbeat, ingratiating couple.
But “Revenge” becomes more fascinating once the title’s meaning is clearer. The audience gets inside Rebekka’s mind, seeing first how she gets distracted by how much she likes Nina, then following along as she sets a trap she hopes will reveal Morten for who he is, rather than just punishing him.
“Revenge” is confidently paced and well balanced between suspense and local color. The twisty plot straightens out too much in the last 15 minutes, but although the ending’s a bit of a fizzle, Steinsbø is keenly attuned throughout to how hard it can be to exact a satisfying justice.
In Norwegian with English subtitles
Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Playing: Starts Aug. 31, Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills