A Vigilante: A Career-Best for Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde in A Vigilante. Courtesy of Saban Films.

Olivia Wilde manages to deliver a career-best performance in Sarah Daggar Nickson’s recently released revenge thriller, A Vigilante.

The film premiered during the 2018 SXSW Film Festival and I regret that it wasn’t on my radar last year.  Anyway, Wilde is excellent in the film as Sadie.  It’s a phenomenal performance that’s only aided by the camerawork in the film.  It’s certainly a nice one-two combo when everything comes together.

The gist of the film is that Sadie helps domestic abuse victims by hunting down their abusers.  However, she isn’t completely out of harm’s way with her husband (Morgan Spector) still out there.  For Sadie to have complete freedom, she has to kill him once and for all.  We can talk about the issues that abuse victims must deal with but this film puts it into a newfound perspective.  Make no mistake about it.  Abusers almost always have a way of finding a way back to their victims.  You can file a restraining order all you want but in the end, is it even enough?  This is where Sadie comes into play.  She takes the abuser out of the equation.

Sadie may kick ass but at the end of the day, she’s an anti-hero.  She’s not the first of her kind nor will she be the last.  While it is true that we have seen women-fronted revenge thrillers, it’s not often enough.  There are so few in which it really does feel like a fantasy to see such a film on screen.  It’s realistic in the sense that Nickson shows us the aftermath of abuse.  How often is it that we see this angle examined in similar films?  Not often enough!

I came away from viewing the film feeling very impressed by Olivia Wilde’s performance.  Maybe it’s because A Vigilante is a low-budget thriller but I feel that this is the best acting that we’ve seen in her career.  Again, I really can’t say enough good things about the camerawork.  I’m not saying that the cinematography is going to win an Oscar but it helps elevate the performances.

I’m not going to question the legally of it all.  I say that because this is clearly a cathartic work of fiction.  As a work of cinema, A Vigilante certainly makes for a solid revenge thriller from Sarah Daggar Nickson.  The film is certainly one that managed to fly under the radar.  Given the current climate at hand, A Vigilante will surely be a film that draws some eyeballs with its home release.


  • “Catharsis: Creating A Vigilante” Featurette 

CAST:  Olivia Wilde, Morgan Spector, Kyle Catlett, CJ Wilson, Tonye Patano, Chuck Cooper, Betsy Aidem, Judy Marte

A Vigilante is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.