The synopsis for We Had It Coming says, “In this allegorical tale of woman versus man, Anna looks to avenge her younger sister who was tormented by an abusive pimp.”
Writer, producer, and director Paul Barbeau has crafted a tale in which Anna, in her course for vengeance, is subjected to a torrent of unwarranted, negligent, and abusive behavior from pretty much every man in her path.
Barbeau credits the Jeffrey Epstein affair and Ghislaine Maxwell’s role in it as his launching point, seemingly hoping to expose the sad realities that women are still victimized almost daily for myriad reasons without even realizing it.
Perhaps using a drug- and prostitution-fueled plot robs the story of some of its allegorical validity.
The points are so in your face that you don’t get much time to consider how it relates to the subtler indignities women suffered like those deceived by Epstein.
The film begins with Anna’s new reality, a life without her sister, who took her own life. Initially in the dark about what Anna’s sister went through, we learn about it as Anna tracks her sister’s pimp.
If Anna experiences even a fraction of what tormented her sister, someone without Anna’s strength wouldn’t have lasted long in that world.
Anna has a quiet strength that keeps her moving toward her destination thanks to her portrayer, Natalie Krill. Krill effectively conveys Anna’s determination as she thinks of little else than the mission at hand.
Judging by her friend and lover, Olivia (Alexia Fast), this isn’t the Anna she’s come to know and love. Instead, Anna’s presenting a new side of herself that she’s explicitly donned to right the terrible wrong done to her sister.
Barbeau produced the film on a microscopic budget, although that’s not the first thing that comes to mind while viewing We Had It Coming. It’s understated and purposeful, if sometimes a little too cryptic.
The cinematography plays with light and shadows that match the somber mood of the tasks at hand, which works in the film’s favor.
What’s most interesting about Barbeau’s production is that although the male perspective drives the narrative, and there are some credited males in the cast, those inflicting the injustices are faceless.
Thus, the male characters are unsympathetic and garner no sympathy, which ensures that Anna’s journey is free from judgment both on and off-screen.
Anna’s main foil is the pimp’s recruiter, played by Erin Agostino. She’s the Maxwell and proves to be every bit as dangerous.
It’s through a prostitute still trying to extricate herself from her situation (Sarah Anne Parent) that Anna can unburden herself from her perceived failure to help her sister by helping someone else escape her uncertain fate.
Dialogue is scarce in this film, so a lot is left to your interpretation, including the finale, as the film ends abruptly.
The title We Had It Coming speaks to the collective we, as a society in the United States, who should brace for a reckoning that will come if we don’t change course, respecting women without marginalizing them, as is their (our) right.
We Had It Coming isn’t the best example of that message, but Barbeau’s desire to impart it for filmgoers is appreciated nonetheless.
Erin Agostino and Sarah Anne Parent also star.
We Had It Coming is available to rent or buy on major platforms like Amazon and Vudu.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.