Massawyrm celebrates RED, WHITE & BLUE as his most memorable SXSW experience!
Hola all. Massawyrm here.
RED, WHITE & BLUE is not a nice film. It is not a fun film. In fact, it is not what anyone in their right mind would call an enjoyable film. But it is something of a brilliant film; a dark, brooding, macabre piece of fiction that will leave you feeling a lot like you did the first time you watched REQUIEM FOR A DREAM or I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. Director Simon Rumley wants to challenge you; he wants to make you cringe, reel and question the morality of 3 relatively despicable people. And when he’s done doing that, he wants to tie you up in knots.
To be honest, I absolutely hated this film for the first half of it. Set up as something of a typical, no-budget proto-indie film, it revolves around three characters who in short order reveal themselves to be thoroughly unlikable. One is a hipster douchebag rock star wannabe; one is a disheveled loner who reveals himself to be something of a serial killer fantasist; and the third is a tramped up turbo slut who’s first line of dialog in the film (after nearly five fairly graphic minutes, presented in montage over a number of nights) is “Look, I don’t fall in love, I don’t stay over and I never fuck the same guy twice.” The film is cut together in that slice of life, all-the-interesting-bits-cut-out format in which something happens and then we immediately cut away. A phone rings. A character reaches to answer it. Cut to same character smoking five minutes later. Lather, rinse, repeat.
But then about halfway through there is a revelation that changes the very nature of the movie; something that completely redefines a character and immediately puts the other two into a situation akin to a slow-motion train wreck. You know what’s going to happen – what HAS to happen – and once it is no longer a matter of what will happen, it becomes about how quickly and how bad it will be when it does. This revelation and the film that follows is taut, gut-wrenching, white-knuckle drama that dips its toes into horror whilst staying squarely in the real world. And all of a sudden everything falls into place. Rumley takes the all-the-interesting-bits-cut-out editing into the horrific parts of the film’s third act and creates a post-torture porn aesthetic that put the horror firmly in your mind without having to show you the grisly details or lingering on a terrible image for effect. Instead, everything terrible happens in your own imagination. Oh sure, Rumley shows you what’s about to happen – but the camera moves away, or cuts before the moment that most films would display as their money shot. Because it is not that kind of film.
This is a film about sharing some terribly disturbing ideas with you. It is a film about monstrous things without a single one of the characters being a monster. As much as each is despicable, so too are they equally pitiable – a pitiful human being driven to become who they are by circumstance or twist of fate. You don’t walk away hating any of them; you simply walk away thinking that while not a one of them got what they truly deserved, the film couldn’t have ended any other way. And the whole ordeal will kind of turn your stomach.
I saw this sitting embedded in a row of film critics and journalists, each one of them a seasoned cineaste with a full bodied knowledge of horror and indie thrillers – and yet there were gasps, covered mouths, and whispered oh my gods. During one particularly trying scene, a couple of them cried out. This film is not for the faint at heart. It is for the hardcore movie lover who wants to be taken on an emotional journey into some dark places they’ve never been. It will make you feel icky and make the weaker of constitution among you beg for mercy. And it is not a film to be entered into lightly.
Driving this no-budget film is a dedicated cast of relative unknowns, each pouring their heart and soul into some pretty meaty characters. There isn’t a single easy role in this films trifecta, and Rumley pulled a hat trick in casting each of them perfectly. Noah Taylor (TOMB RAIDER, THE LIFE AQUATIC) plays the brooding loner with freakish and disturbing abandon; Amanda Fuller incinerates the film with her damaged sexuality as the detached tramp; and Marc Senter (THE LOST, I KNOW WHO KILLED ME) nails the role of the hipster jerkoff who is wrestling with the slow death of his mother to cancer.
Shot in and around Austin, this film makes quite a lot out of very little. This is low budget film making at its finest. Built entirely around ideas and characters rather than flashy edits or splashy horror effects, this film will take you on a journey to some dark and bitter places and you will come out on the other side very effected – one way or the other. Conceptually revolting in the best way possible, this is one of those underground films you need to put onto your radar and track down as soon as you can find it.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.
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March 25, 2010, 10:02 a.m. CST
March 25, 2010, 10:02 a.m. CST
buy not showing the money shot? Doesn't sound like it.
March 25, 2010, 10:42 a.m. CST
Why can't movies from SXSW be seen online through a pay site? ARGH! <p> It's the 21st century people! Get a fucking move on!
March 25, 2010, 11:04 a.m. CST
by the new transported man
& serial killer murders her?
March 25, 2010, 11:09 a.m. CST
March 25, 2010, 11:39 a.m. CST
"Do either of you guys have AIDS?"<p> "No"<p> "Cool. I'd hate to get THAT again."
March 25, 2010, 12:37 p.m. CST
— Anyone have a clue about distribution? I think V'Shael makes a good point about a pay online distribution (streaming?) model for a limited run during the festival.
March 25, 2010, 1:40 p.m. CST
Alot of people will be bored with the first half. But like Massa said, stick with it.<P>by the new transported man: You're close.
March 25, 2010, 2:17 p.m. CST
by Dave I
In that it sounds like a really good movie that is all kinds of no fun to watch. I "like" Kids and Requiem for a Dream, and The Wrestler and movies of that nature in that I admire the vision and the story is compelling, but they are not "fun" but haunting. So while I enjoy that they make me feel something, sometimes quite powerful, they are not usually ones I pop in to replay ala. Star Wars or Terminator 2 or The Blues Brothers.<p><p>I am interested in seeing it though. I find it powerful in stories like what this one sounds like when a director can set up the pieces, let you see how things are going to go badly for the characters, and then sort of lets things progress as they most likely would in real life. It is not always "fun" but it can be pretty moving.<p><p>-Cheers
March 25, 2010, 2:57 p.m. CST
Huh? sitting embedded?
March 25, 2010, 3:02 p.m. CST
Damn, now I'm sorry I missed this while at SXSW.
March 25, 2010, 5:03 p.m. CST
Is that what he's saying? Because I could not make any sense of that "review."
March 25, 2010, 5:35 p.m. CST
March 25, 2010, 5:37 p.m. CST
<p>How can a film that is not fun, not enjoyable and conceptually revolting possibly be a film worth seeing? I have seen that kind of review way too often among people who think themselves film critics. How can this kind of description possibly convince the average movie-goer to see it?</p> <p>I suppose the real question is what kind of people do critics (and many reviewers on this site) hope to entice? Is this a review for people who only care about process and don't really care what the plot is about? Is it for people who see pain and misery as more enjoyable than fun films? I would like to start seeing prefaces before some of these reviews that state straight out that the film reviewed was never intended to be enjoyed by the average run-of-the-mill movie-goer. I am not saying I wasted my time reading this, but I think that this kind of warning is important.
March 25, 2010, 5:48 p.m. CST
I thought it was pretty fucking awful until late in the second act, then it picks up and gets a little better. But yeah, so awful that two of my friends were laughing at the acting/cinematography. Personally, I've never seen someone make the Red camera look so bad.
March 25, 2010, 10:11 p.m. CST
March 25, 2010, 10:11 p.m. CST
Is one atrocious catch phrase. I really like these reviews, but I've been wanting to say that for years now.
March 26, 2010, 4:46 p.m. CST
by The Helper Monkey
I've seen this movie. It's fucking terrible. It's boring. If this is the best indie film has to offer, I fear the future. The acting is laugh out loud bad, the story poorly plotted and poorly told, and it looks as though it was shot on your mom's VHS camera in 1980. Let me save you $10: The Serial Killer falls in love with the HIV Girl who has been purposefully infecting anyone in Austin that will fuck her, including the Hipster Douche who not only gets HIV but gives it to his Mom who commits suicide. Hipster and his bandmates kidnap HIV Girl and the Hipster kills her. Serial Killer kills all of them including one guy's entire family. The film is neither as shocking nor as edgy nor as well made as it so obviously wants to be. Red, White & Blue is without doubt a huge piece of shit. A train wreck of film-making on every level, that lacks the watchability of an actual train wreck. I'm sure this site's multiple positive reviews and mentions have nothing to due with the fact the Tim League of the Alamo Drafthouse is a producer, and are based entirely on the film alone.
March 27, 2010, 6:46 p.m. CST
I need a new film that actually makes you feel something this sounds very promising.
March 28, 2010, 3:06 a.m. CST
March 28, 2010, 3:11 a.m. CST
you need a movie you pay to see to depress you... sounds like your winnar! seriously, massawyrm, you've fallen off the deep end and been sucked into the black hole of movie critic limbo. if this is the kind of film you're praising, you've seen waaay to many movies and need to retire before you start "appreciating" even MORE vile nonsense... oh yea, the paycheck...
Sept. 24, 2010, 3:59 a.m. CST
You are my hero, thanks for the $10. Torture porn FTL.
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