Red State


Red State
I am a huge fan of Kevin Smith. I own all the films, Silent Bob speaks is on its 200th read through on my bedside table, and YouTube footage of his speaking tours are some of the funniest things my eyes have seen. So it was with great reluctance I sat to watch Red State. Reluctance because I really wasn’t sure that I would enjoy a Kevin Smith film that was not in the geek comedy genre. I was aware of all the controversy surrounding the mock auction of rights where he bought his own film back for $20, and as with Dogma, I was aware of the religious and political backlash the film and Kevin himself had received. But watch it I did.

Set in middle America, three teenage boys contact an older lady through a non reputable dating website and set off for a night of sexual deviance. They soon realise all is not well and after having there drinks spiked they awake bound at the wrists and ankles and at the mercy of a cult like church the 5 Points Trinity. After seeing the brutal execution of a man for merely being homosexual, it becomes the boys turn for torture. The police on a routine visit stumble across the violence going on and once the Deputy is shot and killed the sheriff, himself caught by the church performing acts of sodomy and blackmailed by the group, calls in the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) bureau . Special Agent Keenan is in charge and on orders from above starts an almost Waco style kill all attack on the churches compound.

I wont go any further as I don’t want to give away the ending. So, what did I think?

Michael Parks as Pastor Abin Cooper, leader of the 5 Points Trinity church is outstanding. He is convincing, scary, and preaches like the real extremists you see on television from time to time. I’m not sure at this juncture whether the film was released correctly in order to be considered by the Oscar committee, but if it was then Michael has to be up there for nomination.

Melissa Leo is a star in her own right but during Red State I found her to be stretching to far to get her character correct and it shows in soap opera levels of overacting, which is a shame because her character Sarah is critical to the plot.

Special Agent Keenan played by John Goodman is the highlight of the film for me. A man torn between following rules and orders he knows to be wrong in pursuit of the justice they have been trying to bring on the church for sometime, and a man of humour. The part towards the end, during his debriefing, is priceless.

The whole film is made well, the style of filming and rapid changing camera shots are good once your eyes adjust to the pace of the film.

Overall an excellent film. One that if Quentin Tarantino had made it, the plaudits would be raining down, I just feel, like me, that the world wasn’t ready to have Kevin Smith’s name attached to a film like this. But if you like extremism and violence in your movies pretend you don’t know who the director is and rent this.

More to explorer