B. J. Novak is Ben Manalowitz, a New York podcaster who is in a continual search. Whether it be next story to cover or the next casual hookup to keep his bed warm, his life is a carousel of disconnection. That is, until he receives an unexpected, grieving phone call. On the other end of line is Boyd Holbrook as Ty Shaw. His sister Abilene is dead and the family want him to fly out to Texas for the funeral. However the thing is Ben hardly knew Abilene. Maybe he knew her for an evening but he’s not the significant other that Ty’s family all believe him to be. 

In the end, brow beaten by Ty’s grief, Ben goes – but let’s be clear – it’s not for Abilene but himself so as assuage his shame at knowing so little about about a girl who unknowingly worshipped at his altar.

Once out there Ty reveals his real motive for getting Ben to come to Texas. They’re going to solve Abilene’s murder. However, there’s no proof but in Texas where nobody ever deals 911, a hunch always means so much more than proof. 

Beguiled by this blind faith in vengeance without guilt , Ben starts to record their quest for his NY podcast. But will his story reveal more than just the culprit in his descent into America’s modern day rust belt?

…paints an ashen portrait of Americans addicted to a sugar-coated lifestyle.

In short. One hundred per cent. In the perpetual shadows of nodding donkeys draining the oil fields, B. J. Novak paints an ashen portrait of Americans addicted to a sugar-coated lifestyle whilst being disconnected from reality. 

Acting as an Ben’s unreliable guide, Boyd Holbrook Ty Shaw is perfect casting. Pivoting seamlessly from country hick to eloquent observer who has gleaned from more insight than a cornflakes box would normally offer, he’s in good company. B. J. Novak is an affecting fish-out-of-water as Ben and a scene stealing Ashton Kutcher hands in a career best performance as incisive record producer Quentin Sellers who lights a powder keg of doubt under Ben’s preconceptions.

With everything coming together at the end when Ben finally confronts his real reasons for being there, Vengeance is one of those movies that beautifully sells a obvious denouement when you least expect it.

Rather than being a let’s make fun of the country folks kind of black comedy, Vengeance has real layers of depth to offer much like Taylor Sheridan’s Hell or High Water.

So cut yourself from adrift for 107 minutes and take a trip down Texas way. Vengeance is a movie with a lot more than just a lone star to offer you.

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