*This was originally published in Volume 16, Issue 6 of DU Beat
High school drama in a neat, saturated, entertaining packet (tied together with a shiny bow, of course)
The best way to describe Do Revenge is that- it all just fits. Taking on the triple threat of making a self-aware high school comedy with purposeful stereotypes and liberally sprinkled “woke” phrases could’ve resulted in another pretentious, unwatchable, unnecessary Netflix movie. Instead, what we got is a highly entertaining, compulsively watchable piece of work with all the potential to become a teen genre staple.
It starts with a strong ending, a classic tale of a group of rich brats dropping their not-so-rich friend the minute it’s not fun anymore, inspiring the now estranged protagonist to seek out revenge and make unlikely allies along the way. The duo of the scorned Drea Torres (portrayed wonderfully by Camila Mendes and the new girl with a past, Eleanor (brought to life by Maya Hawke) has just the right amount of charisma and chemistry to keep you hooked. The entire cast embodies their role perfectly. The one-dimensional mean girls, the yes-man best friend of the bad guy, the rich but doesn’t care for any of it, the two-faced antagonist, and his quiet, shy sister. Again, in keeping with the running theme here, it all fits, and it all works.
Now, there isn’t necessarily anything here that will wow the critics; sure, it’s all been done. The over-the-top dialogues, the camp outfits, the absurd exuberance, all eclipsed by the frustrations of the underdog we’re supposed to see ourselves in; all of this has been done. Drea is a hard-working, scholarship student dreaming of walking the coveted Ivy halls, and Eleanor is a cool, mysterious outcast who gets sucked into the world of cliques and status. They team up to take down their enemy, and in a classic Cady Heron twist, Drea becomes an over-obsessive person, incapable of being (or wanting to be) a good friend and Eleanor loses herself in the Gatsby of it all.
However, there is a third-act twist that, in my humble opinion, possibly no one will be able to predict. It toes the line of dark humor and deep-stated homicidal perfectly, ending with moral realizations and satisfactory conclusions (if not happily ever afters).
One of the primary achievements of the film is its portrayal of the importance of social justice constructs in public spaces, while also making a mockery of the way it has been co-opted and diluted by the internet.
The music choices perfectly align with the taste of the audience the movie is marketed towards, and so is the wardrobe. Throughout the film, the actors sashay around in a regalia of clothing so vibrant that you can’t help but feel the urge to scour the internet for duplicates. While the majority of the film has been shot on a warm color palette, it doesn’t shy away from incorporating shades of wintery gloom during moments of conflict, without being brazenly obvious. While modern teen movie script-writers have a tradition of being blissfully out of touch with the current lingo, this time around the dialogues are bearable, good even.
The movie is loosely based on Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Strangers on a Train’, but it plays out more like an homage to all the movies currently residing in the teen drama hall of fame. And if all this still hasn’t convinced you, maybe the promise of a stellar soundtrack and a Sophie Turner cameo will.
Naina Priyadarshi Mishra