DVD: Katalin Varga (15)

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The Independent Culture

An assured debut from the British writer and director Peter Strickland.

The titular Katalin Varga is a Romanian woman who, after being thrown out when her husband discovers she was raped, sets off on a quest for vengeance, taking her young son with her. Hilda Péter delivers a strong central performance, switching between gaunt and beguiling, and allowing the character of Varga to be neither just a hapless victim nor an entirely brutalised revenge-seeker. With the dramatic backdrop of the Transylvanian mountains and a sinister soundtrack, the film has an eerily Gothic atmosphere, and Strickland's controlled camera movements create a tense sense of menace throughout. A very impressive first film.

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