The ultra-violent ending of Vengeance explained by B.J. Novak


Screenwriter, director and star BJ Novak talks about the shockingly violent ending of his new dark comedy thriller “Revenge” and explains its meaning. Novak is best known as the star of NBC’s beloved pseudo-documentary sitcom The Office, in which he played Dunder Mifflin’s stubborn temporary employee, Ryan Howard. In addition to “The Office”, Novak has also starred in feature films, having played roles in the films “Inglourious Bastards”, “Save Mr. Banks”, “The New Spider-Man 2” and “The Founder”. After years of honing his skills on episodes of “The Office,” Novak recently made his feature-length directorial film “Revenge.”

Novak leads the cast of the film as Ben Manalowitz, a journalist and aspiring podcaster who travels from New York to West Texas to investigate the death of a former Abilene affair who died of a drug overdose, although she may have been murdered. Vengeance also stars Issa Ray from Insecure as producer Ben, Boyd Holbrook from The Sandman, Dove Cameron, Isabella Amara, J. Smith-Cameron, Leo Tipton, musician John Mayer and Ashton Kutcher. The premiere of the film “Revenge” took place in theaters on July 29, and the brutal bloody ending of the film, in which Ben takes matters into his own hands, stunned the audience and forced them to look for answers.

During a recent interview with IndieWire, Novak tried to reveal the shocking ending of Vengeance. The screenwriter, director and star of the film discussed why the cathartic ending was the only “inevitable” ending of the film that successfully shocked the audience, indicating that Novak did his job well. Read his explanation below:

In fact, I was more worried about hiding it because it seemed to me that this was the only place where this movie could end. So the fact that the audience is a little shocked by this, at first they don’t quite understand what to do with it, I’m very worried. It means I did what I wanted to do. This is a difficult country in which we now live. It’s a complicated world. And morality is complicated and lost. My character’s path from point A to point B, point B is a very shocking place, an amazing place. I like it when movies or TV shows go a little further than you thought. After watching the movie, there is something to think about.

In the finale of “Retribution”, a frustrated and fed up Ben takes the law into his own hands, as careless and corrupt law enforcement agencies cannot solve the urgent problem of the opioid epidemic, aggravated by the reluctance of the Abilene family to admit the truth. The cathartic conclusion can also be seen as an alternative fantasy ending to Ben’s story, inspired by Novak’s past collaboration with Quentin Tarantino on Inglourious Bastards. According to Novak, the ending that destroys expectations also draws inspiration from screenwriter and director Jordan Peele, whose new film “No” was shown in theaters just a week before “Revenge.” Like Peel, Novak is a comedic talent who has successfully transitioned into a genre director with films exploring social issues in a unique and interesting way.

Since premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival in June and then in theaters late last month, “Retribution” has mostly received positive reviews from critics and audiences for Novak’s sharp political satire. The film deftly explores the growing tensions between red and blue states and the sharp divide in modern America, which eventually escalates into violence in the case of Vengeance. The black comedy is Novak’s solid directorial debut, and from now on moviegoers will follow his film career with great interest.


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