This wonderful, unpredictable adaptation of Eka Kurniawan’s novel is probably the best crime epic about erectile dysfunction you’ll ever see. Set mostly in the early 90s, it follows Ajo Kawir (Marthino Lio) as he builds something of a role for himself as a kind of low-energy local enforcer. Low energy that is, until he has to square off against local bodyguard Itueng (Ladya Cheryl). Only when he’s fighting her, it’s implied, does he feel his spirits rise.
A social and political satire, a psychological study, a crime thriller, a rape-revenge tale and a baggy, discursive fable… Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash plays with genre conventions with gleeful assuredness and skewers the machismo of Suharto-era Indonesia.
With a slippery approach to reality (truck murals come alive to address the viewer, and… is that a ghost?) director Edwin’s film dazzles and delights throughout, all the way to the perfect ending. A triumph!
Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash streams on Arrow from August 5th.