“Vengeance,” November 7, 2022, (DVD). B.J. Novak wrote, directs, and stars in this dark comic/drama of a who done it? Novak leads as Ben Monalowitz, a New Yorker writer in the New York bubble of 30-somethings searching for pickups and a career boost that he hopes can come via podcasting. He sees his opportunity on a call from the brother (Boyd Holbrook) of a young woman he hooked up with several times. Abilene (Lio Typton) was an aspiring singer songwriter and the call informs him of her death and brother Ty entreats his journeying to Texas. He was, after all, her boyfriend. No he wasn’t. But this becomes an opportunity to explore terra incognita, the land of rubes, in print and for a podcast.
Except it doesn’t. Yes, the scene is ‘real’ Texans: family, guns, music production, gas wells pumping, bureaucratic law enforcement, drugs, delusional history, lies, and bless your hearts. But each layer is also much more complex than he ever expected. And he goes back and forth through changes as these interactions force him to confront his own emptiness and arrogance.
Good acting all ‘round. I enjoyed this film.