CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: SEVERIN ESKELAND / SCREENPLAY: SEVERIN ESKELAND / STARRING: MAGDALENA FROM DELIS, SONDRE KROGTOFT LARSEN, DAMIAN GALLAGHER / RELEASE DATE: TBC
After a famous crime writer is sexually assaulted, her life is dramatically altered and, during recovery, she begins to suspect that those around her who are offering support may have sinister intentions in the bloodsoaked Norweigian thriller, Lyst.
Revenge films can be a mixed bag as filmmakers must find a harmonious balance between giving the protagonist a deep character profile and also respecting real-world victims. In the case of Lyst, that balance is accomplished to great effect. However, after a strong start, the film, unfortunately, falls into disarray with the pacing faltering creating a jumbled narrative and a handful of scenes and story beats being recycled repeatedly which leaves the audience confused. Topped off with an incredibly over-ambiguous ending which abandons a solid relationship between film and viewer that has developed for the sake of shock value - you will be left with more questions than answers which just makes you feel angry rather than clever.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is a handful of things that Lyst does right. For a start, newcomer Magdalena From Delis is fantastic in the lead role. Her realistic performance enhances the subject material and truly brings the audience on board and involved from the outset. The scenes in which she is breaking down are hard-hitting, uncomfortable and emotional. Also done right is the gore. When shit hits the fan, Director Severin Eskeland clearly had a great time with the tools at his disposal. It's bloody, messy and shocking - a perfect combination for a revenge film that encapsulates how much your life can change when something like this happens.
Lyst truly feels like a film of two halves - a superb start that invests the audience held great promise before it becomes clear that the filmmakers were over-ambitious when it came to deciding on how to end the story. That being said, the ideas were certainly inventive, the gore was solid and the film has given birth to a great new Scandinavian talent in From Delis.