The Wrath of God (2022) Movie Review: A psychological thriller with wasted potential

A psychological thriller with wasted potential

This newest Argentinian film on Netflix dabbles between operating as a lascivious revenge story, and a more weighted psychological thriller. While the premise for both aspects seems visible to a viewer, the execution feels off. The oscillation in tone and direction becomes weaker in the second, which more or less establishes a clear path of ‘The Wrath of God’. Once that happens, the narration seems better and more engaging. But the overall execution is lackluster.

‘The Wrath of God’ focuses on Kloster, a successful writer, and his inadvertent connection with Luciana, his former assistant. She leaves Kloster’s employment after he kisses her against her wishes. The situation is misread by him and she files a suit for sexual harassment. Kloster’s wife, Mercedes, has a history of spending time in the institution after her career-ending injury. Their daughter Pauli has issues of her own and has compatibility trouble with Mercedes.

One day, she receives Luciana’s complaint in the post. This is an overwhelming feeling for her, having not known about this before. She murders Pauli in the bathtub and then commits suicide. Esteban, a journalist and former writing rival of Kloster, investigates Luciana’s claim that Kloster is killing off her family members in lieu of revenge.

The non-linear approach makes way for two timelines – once in the past, about twelve years ago, while the second is the present day. To make the transition more seamless, the former leads to the latter, which starts and ends at the same point.

It takes quite a while for ‘The Wrath of God’ to get to its point. But, at that juncture, you do not have answers as a viewer. The subjective nature of its conclusion beckons you to view the story against your own moral and intellectual contours. At times, director Sebastian Schindel looks like he is about to give you the answers to the core mystery of the story. Through Esteban or off-focus shots, we do come close to knowing what is wrong. As the stop approaches, though, we get further away from any closure. Unconsciously or not, Schindel mimics the psyche of Luciana to the viewer. Both trudge in the dark, looking for answers that are no more than speculative bets in the present form.

Ambiguity is probably the foremost word to encapsulate ‘The Wrath of God’s demonic torture. For the type of events that transpire in its narrative, the lack of menace and bite is surprising. Schindel has quite the trick up his sleeve. He has to be commended for not following conventional genre knowledge to reach similar destinations. His defiance of commonplace traditions is akin to what Kloster feels his relationship with God and fate is. An important element of the build-up and tension here is the lack of information. When most of the supposed violent acts take place, the camera looks the other way. This choice suggests a strong interest to pique the imaginative power of the viewer.

At the same time, it also positions Schindel as a man averse to the aesthetics of savagery that make for such good popcorn entertainment. The central conceit of the film lies in the tussle between divine justice and human revenge. While the former is pure, absolute, and balances the scales of harm, the latter is personal, vile, and disproportionate. Kloster’s continuous references to lex talionis – an eye for an eye – seem to tease both Luciana and us. The inherent deception in his comparison of Biblical legends and reality comes through to elevate the story.

Despite the potential and effective weapons at his hands, Schindel is not able to distinguish his storytelling from a television episode. The astray craftsmanship and missing polish in the end product do not let the execution become impactful. Its effect is somewhat stunted by a lack of enterprising spirit.

It reminds me of the Hirokazu Kore-eda film, The Truth (2019). Keeping the two side by side, we see how the same ingredients of story can translate into two different versions when treated by different filmmakers. ‘The Wrath of God’ plays too much into intangible elements of its altruistic philosophy of film, turning the end product some way short of a satisfying experience. The rawness of its ideas is refreshing and charming, though.

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  • Verdict - 6/10

21 thoughts on “The Wrath of God (2022) Movie Review: A psychological thriller with wasted potential”

  1. It is an amazing movie, Plzz director should make the second part of “The wrath of god 2” Luciana should not be dead. She is the main character. The second one should be started with the that it was her dream she would be dead if he will not stop Kloster, and then Esteban and Luciana would take revenge for her family’s death. Kloster should be the end. and Luciana and Esteban should get married. a happy ending. Part 2 could be viral if it would be the focus

  2. This is a very good movie. It is different, challenging, mysterious, surprising. It is a demonic idea, and it is flawlessly portrayed in a slowly creeping -in madness and inevitability, the heart of tragedy. Those who deplore an unhappy ending in self righteous indignation seem never to have read a tragedy, or never heard the most famous 19th and early 20th century operas, or don’t seem to connect with true, harsh realities. A film is not a church or a merry-go-round. It is either well done or not. And this film is very well done. The main actors are impressive and believable.

  3. I appreciated this movie. I was challenged, surprised, on the edge of my seat. It is a different movie, with interesting personae. I cannot understand those who deplore an unhappy ending. First, in this film the demonic , insidious energy that slowly creeps in , dictates and justifies such ending. Secondly, have the complainers never been to a 19th century opera? Never read a tragic novel or a tale from actual reality?

  4. The movie has an interesting tone around it. My own disagreement is that the man got away with murders.
    It didn’t end well. Evil can not win at the end. No matter how fictitious the film might be.

  5. A boring predictable film with an anticlimactic ending. The plot of this film is about a rotten man who stayed rotten until the end. Are we supposed to symphasize with a pedophile now?

  6. It’s a shame most of the reviews missed out on reading the letter from the lawyer on him getting sued for sexual Harrasment because that provided the motivation for the suicide and the murders.
    The moral question to ask was? is the sexual harassment case justified and did she give him signals. Did it have to escalate when she could of said no to the kiss or rationally just said it was a mistake and moved on. She obviously had feelings for him and religious guilt. A preacher’s daughter should forgive but I can see why he did not forgive her after her being a catalyst for the suicidal death of his demented wife and tragic manslaughter of his daughter.

  7. A good unpredictable Movie that had me guessing where it would twist and turn and I was surprised at the end. The tone and pace were not resonating with my hyperactive mind but a good escape from mindless violence on metaphysical Sunday … ha ha, not to be negative… but I enjoyed Netflix feature to watch it in fast forward and the rewind feature good for a covid nap on Sunday.

  8. Movie that is totally not fair…. Supreme power given only and only to the villian from starting of movie to the end of it.

  9. I was watching Who killed Sarah with so many assumptions and this one popped adding to confusion. I really dont see the end. Clever author. 7/10. Looking forward

  10. This movie is crap. Ending is bull shit which gives sexual offender and Pedophilia a passage.

  11. What is the author saying? Report sexual harassment and the creep might kill of your family? Block your carrier and still wins in the end? Enough already with terrifying victims to submissions and scarring victims to come forward.
    This movie should have had a different ending.
    #StopGaslighting #reportsexualharassment

  12. It was terrible. Took forever to get to the point. The words aren’t in-sync with the characters. Just a hot ass mess

  13. This was an absolute failure. K was a pedophile and a murderer. It ended with him getting away with murder and threatening people.

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