Sarah Daggar-Nickson’s directorial debut A Vigilante is a moving and incredibly important story about one woman’s journey to heal from domestic abuse. It is compassionate, beautiful, and deserves to be celebrated.. (HRM: 4/5)
Review by FF2 Intern Hannah Mayo
Sadie lives on the road working as a vigilante who helps people who are victims of domestic abuse. She travels New York State using any means to save people from abusive situations – helping women escape from abusive partners and children from their abusive parents.
What motivates her through this is her own dark personal history with domestic abuse, which is revealed to the viewer through a series of flashbacks to her time in a domestic abuse survivor’s home. This traumatic past follows her throughout her life, and she must confront and defeat it in order to heal.
Sarah Daggar-Nickson’s directorial debut is incredibly powerful. It tackles an extremely rough topic, not explored enough in film, with beauty, grace, and compassion. The story speaks to the awful reality of domestic abuse that exists in far too many people’s worlds, and brings it to the forefront. Rather than use domestic abuse as a character arch or side story like mose mainstream media, she dives into the emotional trauma and deeply painful healing process that results from such experiences.
The woman who carries the emotion of the film is Olivia Wilde. She perfectly embodies Sadie and he emotional and physical scars. Her performance is incredibly powerful and guides the viewer throughout the film.
Although the subject matter is dark and emotionally heavy, A Vigilante never drags on longer than it needs to. The story is precise, thoughtful, and compact. Every moment carries and emotion that serves the larger story. Everything from the cinematography to the music serves a larger purpose. This film is incredibly impressive as her directorial debut.
Daggar-Nickson tackled a hugely important topic and succeeded in making a meaningful film. It certainly affected me massively. It is a story that needs to be told more, and told with a deep compassion, which is exactly what A Vigilante does.
© Hannah Mayo (3 April 2019) FF2 Media
Photo Credits: Carter Smith
Q: Does A Vigilante pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test?