Red State

"Excellent"

Red State Review


Smith departs from his usual sunny-silly style for this grim, unsettling thriller, which explores the terror of intolerance and the dangers of political power. Intriguingly, the film also continues his exploration of religion (see Dogma).

Three high school students (Angarano, Gallner and Braun) use a phone app to find a 38-year-old woman (Leo) who wants to have group sex. But she's just bait. Before they know what happened, they're caged in an isolated church, where the activist pastor (Parks) explains why he's decided to take violent action against immoral society, which he blames on homosexuality. But the situation devolves into a Waco-style armed stand-off between the militant church and an ATF agent (Goodman) and his team.

The film opens with glimpses of homophobia from casual comments between teens to nasty protests outside the funeral of a hate-crime victim. As the plot continues, this combination of thoughtless bigotry and more aggressive brutality accelerates, making the film increasingly provocative. The central point is that religious and political fanatics actually cease to be what they claim to be: they're actually vigilante thugs inventing reasons for their violent actions. And the road to a massacre starts with narrow-minded self-righteousness.

Grainy, urgent camerawork makes the movie feel gritty and realistic. As the action gets increasingly grisly, Smith and Parks both struggle to depict the pastor's indignation, turning him into little more than a psychopath leading a cult of stupid, brainwashed followers. And the hardline agents trying to stop him aren't much better, although there are level-headed people on all sides.

Clearly, Smith is making pointed comments on America's easily led masses, deep-seated prejudice and the US government's terrible track record in dealing with this kind of situation.

As the stand-off escalates, the film gets a bit chaotic, switching between the villains, the Federal agents and the victims trying to escape. And the depiction of Middle America gets progressively crazed as a full-on gun battle develops into a sinister political nightmare of apocalyptic proportions before a more thoughtful extended epilogue. Still, the filmmaking is skilful and sharp, with excellent acting across the board. And while there isn't much optimism in Smith's world, we should be thankful that he's exploring themes everyone else is afraid to talk about.



Red State

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Friday 30th September 2011

Box Office USA: $1.0M

Budget: $4M

Distributed by: SModcast Pictures

Production compaines: The Harvey Boys, NVSH Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Fresh: 49 Rotten: 35

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Pastor Abin Cooper, as Joseph Keenan, as Sara, as Travis, as Jarod, as Billy-Ray, as Cheyenne, as Sherrif Wynan, Matt Jones as Deputy Pete, as Harry, the Tactical Agent, as Caleb, as Travis' Mother, Kevin Pollak as ASAC Brooks, Betty Aberlin as Abigail, as Esther (as Jennifer Schwalbach), as Agent Hammond, as Agent Carol, as Agent Eccles, as Dana, Ronnie Connell as Randy, as Jesse, Cooper Thornton as Plastic Wrap Man, James Parks as Mordechai, as Maggie, Elizabeth Tripp as Melanie, Molly Livingston as Fiona May, John Lacy as Travis' Father

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.