Fourth of July, Niagara Falls. TEENA MAGUIRE (Anna Hutchison) parties at her boyfriend CASEY’S house, her twelve-year-old daughter BETHIE in tow. It gets late, and Casey is too drunk to drive them home. Despite his protests, Teena insists on walking home with Bethie. They cut through a park, where MARVIN and LLOYD FICK are smoking crystal meth with their friends FRITZ and JIMMY. Marvin and the others ambush Teena and Bethie and drag them to a boathouse.
They fight back, but it’s no use. The vile, repugnant men begin to overtake them – but Bethie gets away and squirms into a narrow opening behind a stack of boats, where she is forced to listen to her mother’s brutal rape.
Hours later, DETECTIVES ZWAFF and DROMOOR (Nicolas Cage) drive through the park and see Bethie staggering out of the boathouse, mumbling about her mother. They enter the boathouse, and find Teena nude, badly beaten. Clinging to life.
The doctors manage to save Teena. Under the watchful eye of Teena’s mother AGNES (Deborah Kara Unger),Bethie identifies the assailants from file photos of known criminals in the area. Dromoor and Zwaff drag Marvin, Lloyd and Fritz from their homes and take them to the police station, where Bethie fights off her nerves and identifies all three in a line-up. It seems like an open and shut case.
Except it isn’t. IRMA FICK, the repulsive mother of Marvin and Lloyd, convinces their father WALT to mortgage their house to hire JAY KIRKPATRICK (Don Johnson), an oily, amoral defense attorney. At a pre-trial hearing, Dromoor watches with disgust as Kirkpatrick destroys Teena’s reputation and account of the attack. He advances an alternate theory of the crime, suggesting that Teena approached the men offering sex for money, but tried to renegotiate the terms afterwards and attacked the men. They defended themselves and left the scene, at which point a separate group of men arrived and raped her. It’s a farfetched, crazy theory, but it intimidates Teena and causes her to break down in the courtroom. And Bethie cannot corroborate her mom’s story, because she was hiding at the time of the rape.
It appears the men will get away with their heinous crime. Agnes tells the prosecutor that Teena won’t testify in court. Teena falls into a funk. A deep depression. Dromoor sees her out at a bar one night and brings her home safely.
Overcome with anger over the events of July 4, Dromoor decides to take action.
Vengeance: A Love Storyis a spellbinding thriller with an intense performance from Academy Award Winner Nicolas Cage.
Richard Rionda Del Castro
John Mankiewicz (based on a novel by Joyce Carol Oates)
Nicolas Cage as "Detective Dromoor"
Don Johnson as "Jay Kirkpatrick"
Anna Hutchinson as "Teena"
Deborah Kara Unger as "Agnes