SXSW Review: A Vigilante

There is a movement going on in Hollywood lately and that movement is women taking over. With movements like “Time’s Up” and “#metoo” we are here to say you cannot bring us down. So, in this era, it is almost a perfect time for the film A Vigilante to be released.


A Vigilante stars Olivia Wilde and tells the story of a woman named Sadie (played by Wilde) who creates a mission for herself in life to remove abusive partners in relationships. She studies Krav Maga to put them in check when they want to fight. She wears wigs and makeup to disguise what she looks like each time. She works hard and fights harder. This is Australian writer/director Sarah Daggar-Nickson’s first feature which she did write and direct. Daggar-Nickson researched by talking to women who have been beaten just to make sure she gets the tone right without offending anyone.


The score is something to be said, the heavy quick beats as Sadie walks into houses to “get the job done” puts the audience in the zone, this woman means business. With that, the absence of sound in crucially important and serious scenes makes you feel like you are in the scene.Without giving any spoilers, we do find the backstory as to why she does this and that actually is the main focal point of the story. It does take a bit for the real story to unfold, but there are flashbacks and quick scenes that  help the audience piece together the puzzle as to why Sadie is the way she is.


Wilde is a force to be reckoned with. She’s an actress you want to hate because she is so gorgeous and so talented – but she’s so talented you can’t hate her. This is her movie and she owns it. Sadie is a soft boiled egg of a character, she seems incredibly hard but  she actually is all soft on the inside. The world made her hard, she tries to be stern and cold, but when she’s home in private she struggles with her demons. It’s a simple but story but not one that has been told often.


Overall, the film is strong, fascinating, and important. It is one of those films that is great to watch once but I’m worried that after watching it the first time it may not be as exciting and scary the second. It is not the greatest film about domestic abuse, but it does open the door for hopefully more films like this to come.

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