Think this is a first for the workhorse! Don’t think we’ve actually had a genuine, honest to god movie review. Still, L.A. wanted the chance to wax lyrical about Kevin Smith, and thankfully this is her forum of choice. The results are below:
When I suggested to NoMoreWorkhorse that I might write a review for Red State, opening tomorrow in the cinema, he thought it was a novel idea to see the movie before writing about it. But as I am a self-proclaimed fan of Kevin Smith and have been following the Red State journey from its early inception, who better to write a review.
Red State is more than a movie of course. It’s a call for action for all independent movie makers on how to market your own movie without any studio input. Instead of spending more than the cost of making the movie on marketing, Smith decided to take it on the road with special screenings followed by a Q and A with the cast in the States. It seems that this has inspired others, with Coppola deciding to do something similar for his next flick.Although Smith’s last few movies have been less than spectacular (I didn’t even bother with Cop Out) with things going south from Jersey Girl onwards. One word. Benifer. Red State is intriguing because it has as its genesis the remarkable world of the Westboro Baptist Church. You know the ones that picket outside funerals with their “God Hates Fags” signs? The ones Louis Teroux likes to make documentaries about? In fact at least one of the screenings in the US had two ex members of the church giving a talk about being on the inside of it.
The film starts with three high schools friends looking to pop their cherries who find a “dating site” where women offer no strings sex, to whatever your predilection. Finding one of the women who will participate in a threesome they find it only slightly strange that this woman’s address happens to be in the compound of the local fundamentalist Christian church, Coopers Dell. Once they step onto their land however they enter a dark nightmare of the sadistic lengths the church will go to to impose their distorted view of Christian morality.
Red State is no Saw in terms of scenes of torture but it does have a high body count and it would be hard to guess who remains alive by the end of the movie. Michael Parks performance of Pastor Cooper is remarkable and perhaps if in any other studio produced movie might be up for an Oscar. Melissa Leo, pre-Oscar, also gives a very strong performance and who doesn’t love John Goodman! A more critically acclaimed director from the ViewAskew universe, Ben Affleck, seemed to like Red State so much that he cast most of the actors in his next movie. See Red State if you like independent horror movies, or have an interest in strange fundamentalist US religions who seem to give Islamic extremists a run for their money. Just don’t expect some nerds standing around talking about Star Wars.