Derek “Milkshake” Qamar has been cheated on. He’s also stuck in a dead-end job and sleeps in the living room of his music producer friend Helen. In other words, Derek is stuck, ever since he broke up with his girlfriend Maria almost a year earlier.
Derek can’t seem to find his way out of his depression. But then he finds a way to put his anger and hurt into lyrics and lays down a track that will eventually change his life.
Written by Kahlil Maskati and directed by Andrew Carter, this sharp, irreverent yet heartfelt romantic drama is about heartbreak, anger, grief and doing whatever it takes to pull yourself out of the morass. Told with both humor and sensitivity, it offers a fresh and entertaining take on reinventing and rediscovering yourself after a breakup.
Though the film portrays depression and how it can mire people in indecision, listlessness and melancholy, the storytelling is dynamic, fluid and energetic, thanks to vibrant, deft craftsmanship. There’s the beautifully rich cinematography that’s both luminous and melancholic, and editing that has the same sense of staccato playfulness of the music that Derek writes. There are also touches of humor, particularly in portraying Derek’s job and the idiosyncrasies of the people and situations around him.
But it all serves a cleverly written, soulful story that is unabashedly sincere in its portrayal of transmuting the grief of heartbreak into meaning and purpose. Actor Omar Maskati is the focal point of the storytelling, portraying Derek as profoundly angry, hurt and aggrieved at the messy breakup he’s endured. Those are feelings that many can identify with. And the process Derek goes through to reinvent himself — by facing his pain and turning it into creativity — is also something many will be inspired by.
Relatable, compelling and quite fun to watch, “Revenge Tour” is a breakup story, and how we make sense of pain after we lose a relationship. But the film is unique in telling that story from the point-of-view of a man, and a person of color as well, capturing his emotional terrain and journey.
Some breakup stories veer towards the internal, emotional terrain of the experience, while other stories capture more of a “lost weekend” vibe, where the heartbroken lose themselves in partying, dating and sensory overload. “Revenge Tour” finds a middle ground, offering an emotional generosity to Derek’s plight, allowing him the time he needs to process his feelings but injecting the story with extraverted energy that keeps it consistently compelling. It’s a small but powerful triumph when Derek works through his anger and pain, laying down something that not only tells his story but resonates with the larger world he finally feels a part of.