A VIGILANTE is a timely thriller inspired by the women who escape domestic abuse. Olivia Wilde takes a big step away from her typical roles to play quiet, haunted Sadie, a woman left desolate by a horrifically abusive marriage. After receiving assistance at a battered women’s shelter, Sadie reenters the world with a new agenda—to rescue others from abusive circumstances. Even as she drifts from one town to the next, Sadie continues to search for the husband who brutalized her.
While the premise may remind prospective viewers of ENOUGH, starring Jennifer Lopez, A VIGILANTE takes a very different direction. Director Sarah Daggar Nickson intentionally keeps her plot lean and her sets, shots, and soundtrack basic. Certain pieces of popular American entertainment are still romanticizing partners that are controlling or manipulative, and Nickson Is Not Having It. We’re never presented with any rosy flashbacks from the early days of Sadie’s marriage; we see only Sadie’s cold reality of grief and confusion. Nickson also pays huge tribute to the importance of community support for survivors. The most inspiring scenes take place in the women’s shelter, and prevent the film from becoming a gray-toned revenge fantasy.
A VIGILANTE is written and directed by Sarah Daggar Nickson (in her feature film debut) and stars Olivia Wilde, Morgan Spector, and Tonye Patano.
Trigger warning: while this film is a tribute to survivors of domestic abuse and does not glorify violence, many may find it disturbing. Please make an informed decision.