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Film / The Revengers' Comedies

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The Revengers' Comedies is a 1998 British comedy film written and directed by Malcolm Mowbray. The screenplay is based on a play of the same name by Alan Ayckbourn.

Henry Bell (Sam Neill) and Karen Knightly (Helena Bonham Carter) meet when both intent on committing suicide by leaping from the Tower Bridge in London. They explain to each other their reasons to do so: Henry has been eased out of his job by condescending Bruce Tick (Steve Coogan), while Karen has been abandoned by her lover, who opted to return to his wife, Imogen Staxton-Billing (Kristin Scott Thomas). When neither succeeds in their suicide attempt, Henry and Karen they strike a bargain whereby each agrees to exact revenge on behalf of the other.

However, Henry is less enthusiastic about the plan, and finds it difficult once he meets Imogen, as he falls in love with her and they begin an affair. There's just one problem: Karen has already kept his end of the bargain, and when she demands Henry to do the same, he begins to suspect Karen is more of a villain than a victim, and the woman proves to be a formidable foe when she realizes Henry may renege on their deal.

This film features examples of:

  • Eccentric Millionaire: Karen is a wealthy aristocrat and she sure is eccentric with her "Strangers on a Train" plots. There's also her oddball brother Oliver, who delights in racing through the interior of their rural mansion on his motor scooter.
  • In Love with the Mark: Henry is unable to go through with the plan once he meets Imogen, as he falls in love with her. He even learns learns that her husband left Karen not to come back to Imogen, but for a third woman entirely.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Henry and Karen meet when they both attempt suicide on the London Tower Bridge and end up saving each other.
  • "Strangers on a Train"-Plot Murder: A non-murder variant when Henry and Karen make a deal for each one to take revenge on the people who wronged the other. Subverted when it turns out Karen actually killed her target, and wants Henry to do the same.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Beyond just sharing a "Strangers on a Train"-Plot Murder, the whole movie is basically a loose, unofficial remake of Strangers on a Train with Bruno gender-flipped into a woman.note