Innocent Vengeance, aka Berbalas Kejam, is Indonesia’s subtle version of John Wick. Not so gruesome and bloody, but the plot is quite similar. A group of thieves enters the home of a well-to-do family, resulting in the loss of two lives. A good man who has gone rogue after his family’s brutal death plots his revenge in this intense revenge drama. Directed by Teddy Soeriaatmadja and brilliantly acted by Reza Rahadian as Adam, this Indonesian movie will pleasantly surprise the viewers.
This is their second collaboration. Innocent Vengeance is a short movie without any subplots. The story is quite straightforward. The director never diverts the viewer’s attention from Adam and his misery. He is there in almost every scene and is quite convincing as a mourning widow traumatized by the events that unfolded right before his eyes.
Innocent Vengeance (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
What happens when you lose your entire family on one of the most memorable days of your life? You lose your rationality and go berserk. That’s exactly what happens to Adam. It’s his birthday, and his wife has ordered a beautiful cake for him and an exquisite watch as his birthday present. They have a kid who has asthma. The three of them cut the cake, and their kid goes to their room.
A doorbell rings, and Adam finds three men standing on his doorstep. They forcefully enter the house and tie him up. They raid the house and start hitting his wife when she resists. One of the men kills their child, and his wife stabs one of the thieves with a big shard of broken porcelain. Adam witnesses all this helplessly. He sees his wife breathe her last.
The movie is fast-paced, and the story is quite memorable. As Adam, Reza is the movie’s highlight and has done a terrific job. People close to Adam try a lot to bring him back to reality and to make him realize that life is unfair and he has to move on. He doesn’t listen and is hell-bent on making them pay for what they did to his family.
Does Adam recover from his family’s death?
Adam is shattered beyond words as any man, just as any other man will be in his situation. His clothes are lying around, the house is a mess, and there is stale food all over the dining table. Adam is not himself anymore. He is angry, and he isn’t able to focus on his job as well. He isn’t ready to let go and move on, either. His rage knows no bounds. He wants to hunt the robbers down and give them a taste of their own medicine. He is actively seeking vengeance and won’t stop at anything.
Adam has no will to continue his life and even goes to the extent of killing himself. There is an instance where he tries to suffocate himself using a plastic bag. When his work life gets affected by his personal calamities, a colleague advises him to visit a therapist. Amanda tries her best to heal him and ease his suffering, but his anger is so deep that nothing can stop him.
What happens to the robbers?
Adam finds out that one of the robbers, Franky Tamba, works as an online cab driver when Adam books a cab. When he sees one of the killers, all of his trauma is ignited again. Soon, the online driver is found dead. The detective visits Adam and interrogates him if he knows the dead person. He denies having any connection even after the detective points out that Franky’s last location, according to the GPS, is Adam’s house.
The second robber runs a workshop that services cars. Adam takes his car to the workshop to see if that’s the man who was involved in the death of his family. He is wearing the same watch Adam’s wife got him for his birthday. The thief tells him he will be available any time during the night if his automobile troubles him again. Adam revisits him that night with a hammer. He begs Adam to let him go and says, “I was just following orders.” Adam shows no remorse and suffocates him to death.
Who is the third robber?
Meanwhile, Adam and Amanda start dating. They start dating, and they spend a lot of time together. The only twist this movie offers is that the third robber, Karni, is Amanda’s brother. Amanda introduces them to each other, and they sit down for breakfast. Karni questions Adam regarding the death of his wife. He replies, “She died due to a very painful illness.”
Karni looks very different now. His hair is grown, and one of his eyes is permanently damaged. When Amanda tries to hide the fact that he just got released from jail, Karni interrupts her and confesses it. However, he says he was framed and didn’t commit any crime. He denies having any connection to the robbery.
Innocent Vengeance (2023) Movie Ending, Explained:
Does Adam get his revenge?
Adam is dumbfounded at the fact that the third man is Amanda’s brother. He still wants revenge and goes to finish the deed that night. “I’ve been waiting for you,” says Karni as he enters their home. He remembers him very well despite losing one eye. He advises him to go back home and not do anything silly. Adam doesn’t budge.
Meanwhile, the detective reaches Amanda’s clinic and interrogates her about Adam and his possible involvement in the murder of the two thugs. Amanda refuses to share any details because of patient confidentiality. Once the detective leaves, Amanda does a little thinking of her own. She adds two plus two and senses the seriousness in the detective’s tone. She knows something is wrong and calls Adam.
Does Adam get arrested?
When Adam doesn’t pick up her phone, Amanda reaches his home and doesn’t find him there. Adam and Karni are engaged in a serious fight, and the latter keeps pleading with him to let him go. Adam has him in a chokehold when he catches a woman and a baby staring at the fight with a worrying look on their faces. It’s Karni’s family.
Adam isn’t able to bring himself to do what someone else did to his family. He can’t give someone the excruciating pain he is going through. Amanda arrives, and she makes him understand that there won’t be any difference between the thugs and him if he kills any of them. At the same time, the cops arrive, and Adam surrenders.
Can Adam’s actions be justified?
Teddy has created a grey world in Innocent Vengeance where you can’t help but root for the anti-hero. Nobody deserves to die before their time, and the death of his family is unforgivable.
However, nothing can justify murder. The way his family’s murder cannot be justified, the same way the killers’ murders are savage and equally wrong. Adam needed help, and the knife of never letting go is what got the better of him. He could have started his life again, but the wrong choices landed him in prison.