Dark and Depressing Thriller
Payback is a dark attempt at noir, without the creativity, wit, or visual cues that represent the best of the genre. Instead, the film is a brutal (often too brutal) and violent journey through a seedy world of crime and revenge. Anti-hero plots work well, but there has to be something - something at all - likable or interesting about the anti-hero for them to work. Here, Mel Gibson's character is often angry, sullen, and despicable and without someone to truly root for in the film, the revenge he exacts feels empty and cruel.