Directed by Andrea Arnold.
Written by Andrea Arnold.
Starring Katie Dickie and Tony Curran.
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 1/30/07
From the jump, "Red Road"--screening in the
International Film category here at the 2007 Sundance Film
Festival--was blah. I should have known when the Sundance
programmer who introduced the film used words like "patient style"
and "ethereal" that this was code for "slow and boring to start."
The first hour of the film was so slow that
I was amazed to still be awake by the time it began to gain some
momentum. The second half is certainly stronger than the
first, but will you hang around long enough to make that worthwhile?
"Red Road" follows a CCTV surveillance officer named Jackie (Katie
Dickie); we learn that for the last few years, Jackie has been
mourning the loss of her husband and daughter in a tragic auto
accident. One night while working--Jackie spends most of her
time watching quiet storefronts and common passers-by--Jackie
realizes that the man responsible for her family losses, Clyde (Tony
Curran), has been released early from prison on good behavior and
now lives in the neighborhood that Jackie watches on a nightly
basis. She becomes obsessed with finding out more about this
man and how to get him back off the streets.
The first hour of the movie, I'm not
kidding, I was barely making it during "Red Road." This was a
mix of 1) this being my fourth movie of the day, and it was only 6
PM, and 2) the movie's "patient style" made for some really tough
times as I tried to keep up with the nothingness happening onscreen.
Watching Jackie watch Clyde is an exercise in pain. But, a few
things develop to create some empathy for Clyde, and this--combined
with solid work from Dickie--makes "Red Road" a fine finisher with
some excellent scenes and a couple of real eye-opening moments.
(And, being an unrated version of the film, there's no question that
a couple of these scenes will be cut down or out altogether before
it opens here in the States.)
Overall, the experience was a mixed bag and
judging by how many people skipped the Q&A with director Andrea
Arnold after the film screened, others seemed to be in my boat.
This one is a game-time decision!
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard