Fans have seen Olivia Wilde in a few different ways since she’s not what one would call a shy actress when she commits to a part, and she continues to prove that in A Vigilante. There’s not a lot of guesswork when it comes to this movie since Wilde takes on the role of Sadie, a beaten and battered woman that has been through a rough marriage and managed to escape her violent husband after he goes missing. What’s interesting is that according to a map that she keeps with her wherever she goes, Sadie is looking for him, and as the movie goes on it’s kind of apparent that she wants a bit of payback. The reason why becomes sound enough when she reveals to a support group that her husband killed her son when she and her boy were attempting to escape their family patriarch. It sounds as though the son was killed by the father after trying to defend his mother, for which Sadie obviously feels a bit guilty. But what this story shows is that she found a way to alleviate at least a little bit of the pain.
It’s noted early on in the movie that Sadie has become a type of vigilante that helps others, be they women, men, or children, to escape their abusive partners or parents. She only charges as much as the individuals can afford to give, and in the process, her own guilt is forgotten or at least assuaged for a short while. Changing her looks and even learning how to apply makeup and other materials to her face to keep altering her appearance, Sadie does begin to make a difference. But her husband appears to be the main target as she continues to learn how to defend herself using a book on Krav Maga she found when revisiting her home.
The movie isn’t tough to follow but it does tend to drag a bit in several areas as Sadie’s story continues to roll forward and her attempts to help others and to find her husband feel a bit muted somehow, as though Sadie isn’t quite as focused as she appears to be and has grown numb to the world around her. The loss of her son is a big factor in her life, as is the search for her husband, but still, Sadie feels determined even if the story doesn’t always push this idea. It does manage to show a story that might be understood by those that have been through such terrifying times, and it does show that Sadie’s life is kind of dedicated to something greater than herself, even if her one big goal is to get back at the man that took so much from her. In a sense, it does feel that this movie is waiting to show the audience something and by the time it finally happens a lot of people might not feel that the payoff was worth the wait. It’s a matter of perspective really, but this movie is something that might be seen as a bleak look at the life of a battered woman that’s taking control of her life, and using that control to help others in need.
When she’s confronted by her husband, well, knocked unconscious and tied up, she experiences the fear that she’s already faced in life and does her best to escape and get her payback. She does a decent job of holding her own until her husband gets the upper hand and breaks her arm. When he turns his back however she escapes from the room in which he kept her, and during a final confrontation she finally kills him, leaving his naked body on the side of a back road to be found by the police. When it is established that her husband was found, the life insurance policy that was set up went to her, and Sadie now had a way to continue what she was doing for others. It sounds like a dangerous life that might not have enough of a payoff, but for someone that’s been in an abusive relationship, it’s not too far off the mark to think that she would want to spare others of the same treatment that she had to endure for so long.
As revenge movies go this one was different for certain since it took on the revenge idea from a very disjointed direction since Sadie knew what it was like to be beaten and battered and she knew what it was like to feel helpless and lost. Her desire to help others was a positive if somewhat brutal note that might inspire others if they watch the story. It wasn’t like every other revenge story out there where the woman seeking her due was bound to be insanely tough and an expert in various fighting disciplines. While Sadie was definitely tough, she was also still very vulnerable.
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