Rage – Film Review
Rage amplifies all of those nightmare scenarios within the home as it tackles a brutal home invasion as well as fears of infidelity. The film is a dark, brooding tale containing graphic elements as it explores the aftermath of such a violent incident. Rage is uncompromising in its portrayal of the emotional upheaval that ensues however the film’s preference appears to be to observe such unravelling from a distance. This objective viewpoint does not create the emotional resonance with the characters that would be necessary for a thriller of this nature and therefore leaves an unsatisfying feeling overall.
Rage addresses an unpleasant subject matter which will require a trigger warning as the film catapults into the traumatic incident abruptly. Husband and wife, Madeleine (Hayley Beveridge) and Noah (Matt Theo) discover that their fragile marriage is tested further in the aftermath of a violent incident after one of them is left in a coma and the other retreats into an almost catatonic state as a coping mechanism. Rage uses flashbacks to provide that background to their relationship, but such device ultimately feels hollow rather than using the film’s lengthy run time to flesh out the characters further. Instead, it seems that Rage is designed to use shock tactics and subsequently expects the audience to be patient whilst it decides to engage in slow cinema techniques. The film would therefore have benefited from a tauter editing style.
Amongst the better examples of effective editing within Rage are the long takes and the close ups of Madeleine’s stoic expression whilst visiting medical professionals interspersed with gripping flashbacks of the incident. The film’s focus on ancillary characters provides a non-cohesive structure, which seems superfluous, and ultimately leaves Rage feeling quite messy. Director John Balazs’ decision to focus on elements of the criminal investigation and its lead detective are at times questionable. Again, such scenes may have been more effective with tighter editing to connect such moments to the trauma facing the couple without seeming too contrived. Without such nexus there are many aspects of Rage that progress superficially and the film tends to oscillate between the heavier subjects and melodrama which may be an approach better suited to episodic filming.
Fortunately, Rage does contain a few moments of suspense to provide that intrigue and prevent the film from suffering under the weight of its gritty, trauma driven veneer. However, these moments are too few and far between to captivate. Some aspects within the revenge tale even border on the absurd, unintentionally it is assumed, as the scenes lack the delivery and execution needed to create a convincing scenario. The lead actors do perform well within the limitations of their roles, at such times, but the film does not extend itself beyond the existing tropes in the genre to be memorable. Rage explores the emotions associated with a traumatic incident but does not have the conviction to progress this further psychologically and explore the various coping and defence mechanisms employed. The film’s superficial treatment of such trauma is certainly a missed opportunity to highlight the plight of such victims.
Rage is a film that captures the insecurities that may be encountered within a marriage as a couple may become too familiar with each other and fail to communicate. The introduction of a traumatic event within the couple’s life emphasises that need for compassion and communication within relationships. Rage explores a simple narrative style but does not explicitly address whose rage is the central component of the film, is it the husband’s rage or the wife’s rage or the rage that belonged to the trauma? It is these unconnected threads that linger unsatisfyingly within Rage but not long enough for the film to connect fully with its audience and provide a substantial impact.