thu 23/05/2024

DVD: Red State | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Red State

DVD: Red State

Indie prankster Kevin Smith ups his game with taboo-busting rampage

An everyday tale of sex, guns, murder and crazed fundamentalism

Best known for comedies like Chasing Amy and Mallrats, indie-land workaholic Kevin Smith has made a handbrake turn with Red State. Set in the small-town American South, it's a hectic mash-up of slasher flick, horror-fest and muscular action movie, with a caustic political twist in its tail.

It's too much to pack into one short-ish (80 minutes) movie, but Red State's hectic pace, stylish visual design and provocative checklist of hair-trigger issues make it bogglingly watchable.

Plot-wise, we kick off with a trio of sex-crazed teenage boys looking to get laid by any possible means. They end up crammed in a trailer with Melissa Leo, doing her regular weird-and-creepy thing. However, she's not an antiquated hooker but is on a mission from the fanatical Five Points Trinity Church cult, and the lads end up drugged, kidnapped, and trussed for slaughter by Pastor Abin Cooper and his rabid family of disciples. Michael Parks's Cooper is the flick's centre of gravity, as he articulates the Pastor's murderous homophobic fundamentalism in a seductive molasses-and-cornbread burr.

Everything goes to hell, but not the way you expect. The narrative takes a violent lurch with the introduction of John Goodman as ATF agent Keenan, dispatched to investigate a shooting incident at Five Points and soon tasked with conducting a state-sponsored massacre of the cultists. Fundamentalist insanity meets political black ops, and if the final section where Goodman makes his official report feels awkwardly tacked on, it leaves you plenty to chew on. There's also an excellent joke about Divine intervention.

The DVD adds a slew of extras that are longer than the flick itself. There's a lengthy and informative Making Of featurette, trailers, picture galleries, and an absorbing interview with Michael Parks, who's evidently a raconteur of renown. These extra bits also highlight some of the flies in Kevin Smith's ointment, like his inability to stop talking about himself and a penchant for self-indulgence. For instance, Pastor Cooper already has an eight-minute sermon in the movie, but Smith insists on showing us the interminable uncut version he included at Red State's Sundance screening. But you wouldn't expect clinical precision from such a supersized eccentric.

Watch trailer for Red State


The lads end up drugged, kidnapped, and trussed for slaughter by Pastor Abin Cooper and his rabid family of disciples


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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