A black comedy pretending to be other genres.


A writer from New York City attempts to solve the murder of a girl he hooked up with and travels down south to investigate the circumstances of her death and discover what happened to her.


B.J. Novak… The writer– Sure, most of us know B.J. know back from his time playing Ryan in the office. However, you may not know that Novak is an established author who spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list between multiple books. Writing, more than anything, is indeed his forte. I knew that going in. So it was no surprise to me how well written this film was once it got going. The second act is exciting and the third act is flat-out compelling.

That first act though… well, I’ll get to that in a second.

Ashton Kutcher– Here is seven words I haven’t said in a very, very, long time: I liked Ashton Kutcher in this movie. There, in fact is a reason why Ashton Kutcher ever became a thing. When given the right piece of material, he’s very charismatic and smooth in his delivery.

To date, I don’t know what his greatest performance is, and I probably dislike a lot more of his resume than I actually like, but when he’s good, he’s good. And he’s good in this movie.

THE 3RD ACT- This movie is not a thriller, and it’s not a mystery film, even though it wants you to believe it is. Ultimately this is a dark comedy about one man’s selfishness and how it affects those around him. The third act emphasizes this, and it’s noted in many creative ways. There are huge twists towards the end of the film, and it just so happens that the twists pay off a lot of things that were set up in the first act

These setups just so happen to be the most redeeming aspect of that first act because…


THIS FIRST ACT- This movie takes a while to get going. The first act is filled with lingering exposition, mixed with a really slow pace, it’s boring enough to think that maybe something got cut out of the first act that would be a big laugh. Not saying that the 1st act is not setting up some necessary things to touch on later, but it is quite the chore to get through.


B.J. NOVAK… THE ACTOR- B.J. Novak’s performance in the office was aces. It was absolutely set on deadpan delivery and a stoic demeanor. By all intents and purposes, that does not work with this character. There is a lot of dark stuff going on, and all throughout the film, Novak has one expression and one tone of voice. It is somewhat of a frustrating performance because you never get a hint of the character himself changing emotionally, even though the words he’s saying indicate that he is changing toward the end of the film.

All of the supporting characters are well-rounded and unique. It would have been a more interesting flick if the movie were about them instead of him.


This is B.J. Novak’s directorial debut. And I’m never one to get all hypercritical of ones directing skills if it’s their first time.

I can’t help but think that this movie would have been borderline great if another actor had been in the lead. And I do think there’s a big potential for Novak as a filmmaker. Whatever film he directs next, hopefully, will have an actor of more depth anchoring the film. 

VENGEANCE is in theaters now

Eli Brumfield

Eli Brumfield in an actor/screenwriter from Seattle Washington, living in Los Angeles.

He is the host of the RV8 Podcast.

He hates the word cinefile, but considering how many films he consumes in a week...and how many films he goes out of his way to see, no matter the genre...he kinda seems to be one.

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