Saturday, September 3, 2011
Red State (2011)
Three horny high school students (Michael Angarano,Kyle Gallner,and Nicholas Braun) receive an online invitation from a woman who invites them for a group orgy. Unbeknownst to them though, the woman is Sarah Cooper (Melissa Leo), the daughter of the cult Five Points Church Pastor Abin Cooper (Michael Parks), who he and his followers are immense opposers on the subject of homophobia. She spikes the beers she gives the three teens and they're transported to the church to be killed for their "sins." However, the ATF and police arrive at the scene which sparks a deadly shootout between the Five Points priest and his followers. Basically, the first half of the film draws heavily upon the real-life religious extremist group Westboro Baptist Church led by the infamous priest Fred Phelps, and the second half derives mostly off of the famous 1993 Waco,Texas, ATF siege on the Branch Davidian ranch which ended in a deadly shootout killing almost 80.
The real blame of this film,though,is unfortunately placed on writer/director Kevin Smith. His choice of departing from his usual directing style of just keeping the camera still and having his characters let loose on the genius witty dialogue he writes is completely abolished for an overload of poorly explored themes,constant hand-held camera work,and an overload of dialogue that just bores you instead of making you laugh. For instance, the movie presents several themes mostly in the categories of homophobia,extremist cult religions,and a possible satire on the kooks of the Westboro Baptist Church. To be truthful, the people of that church are the people I hate the most in America because I'm part of a military family, and the fact that they picket military funerals creates the biggest "F*ck You!" I have towards anybody in the world. However, Smith seems to not have the slightest clue on how to fully utilize all of these themes in a coherent manner as they jump from one to the next every scene, and never revisits them for the rest of the film. There are scenes of dialogue that should be interesting, but instead several conversations occur where I just wanted a new scene to occur because the lines spoken are boring and tedious. And when the second half rolls around to the big standoff, Smith believes that killing off characters by surprise will be a shocker to the audience, but since all of the characters in this film are either unlikeable or barely do anything rational to the plot in their short screen time, you'll figure out that you simply won't care at all. Finally, his attempts at incorporating humor fall so flat that it does no justice to a film that is already deteriorating at a rapid pace from being anything okay. On a brighter note though, I did dig the grimy setting of the film where almost every shot is very gray and grim in its look.
Final Grade: D