“Tattoo of revenge,” tipping the scales of justice down in Murderville

Mexico City in the nineties was a place where the harshest crimes went unpunished due to money and a corrupt police force.

Aida (an excellent and tortured performance from Diana Lein, an actress to watch!) serves up revenge for young women who have been raped and maltreated and weren’t able to find resolution on their own.

Working out of the back of a nightclub, the women come to her with the code phrase, “Is the woman who does the facials in? I brought my own cream” and bring their pleas to justice.

When accepting her assignments, Aida tells the women she must know exactly what it was that attracted the men to them. In a very Will Graham manner (Graham is the FBI agent who caught Hannibal Lector and The Tooth Fairy in Thomas Harris’s novel “Red Dragon”) she must become the victim both mentally and physically to draw them out. Aida disguises herself, seduces and drugs the rapists, and brands them with a huge tattoo, assuring they never forget the pain they caused.

All of this brings Aida very dangerous and powerful enemies who plot to discover and expose her real identity and destroy her.

The character of Aida is presented as a steel-cold weapon who cuts through the backstreets and clubs of Mexico City. Sort of a tortured female “Lone Ranger,” dispensing justice for the unheard. Diana Lein smartly plays her as an enigma that holds the dark memory that led her to walk this path of revenge.

Irving Pena is convincing as Vincente, a TV reporter who is investigating a story that may lead him to discover who this “Avenger” is and why this is happening. The actor has a natural and easy going way that makes him relatable. Vincente becomes our guide through the unraveling mystery of who Aida is.

Written by Malu Huacuja del Toro and directed by Julian Hernandez, this raw and interesting thriller was filmed in black and white (with muted colors used for the flashback sequences) and uses the 4:3 ratio, giving it a unique look for a film of this type.

Cinematographer Alejandro Cantu uses slow pans and allows his camera to take in the characters and their surroundings without calling attention to his style, and the eerie score from Arturo Villela and Angel Sanchez Borges adds to the film’s unnerving atmosphere.

“Tattoo of Revenge” is a very good mystery that is extremely well directed and contains moments of real suspense and unabashed sexuality akin to the great thrillers of Brian De Palma. This is a film that is smart and attention-grabbing, with Diana Lein’s bold performance being the glue that holds it all together.

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