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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

[5.50/10] Red State (2011)


Red State (2011)

Brief review: In its core, "Red State" is definitely a horror movie, even though it doesn't really feel like one. On one hand, it fails do deliver any real scares and thrills along the way, but on the other hand, this extreme fundamentalist Christian madness and denial of modern reality is nothing short of terrifying and utterly disturbing. Kevin Smith is that type of director that you ether love or hate, because he's a bit hard-to-get as a filmmaker. His films are a too weird and pretentious for mass tastes, and "Red State" is no exception. Here, Smith's direction often lacks focus and cohesion, the pacing drags a bit too much, and the movie is full of unnecessarily extended scenes that get tiresome real soon. Having said that, the script is clever and exceptionally well-written, and allows the entire cast to shine. "Red State" is worth-seeing for the performances alone. Academy Award winner Melissa Leo steals the show with her sensational performance as the brainwashed, yet tough believer, Sara. Michael Parks is absolutely brilliant as the manipulative crazy preacher, Abin Cooper, and Kerry Bishé delivers excellent performance as the innocent and caring Cheyenne. The rest of the cast does a great job as well, with Stephen Root and John Goodman being the standouts.

Overall summary: Believable, well acted and thoroughly disturbing, yet quite pretentious, too talky and visually dull, "Red State" fails in its ambition to be a subtle horror, dark comedy and action thriller all at once, and ends up being a mess that can't cope with its own weirdness.

34 comments:

HorrO said...

Here I am! Great review! Definitely not the traditional horror movie, but yes still horror (real life horror). I truly believe those kind of people are out there, and that is scary! Some of the scenes are extended and I could see how you would lose interest. I just got caught up in the issues. I enjoyed thinking about how he presented them, and the extremes he showed.

Nebular said...

Thanks a lot, buddy, glad to see you back here. I missed your comments. :) I agree, it was a pure real life horror and very unconventional movie. I loved it as much as I hated it, and that's why I gave it a 5.50 out of 10.

Ben said...

I thought it was OK, but I thought Michael Parks was "good" at best. Kevin Smith only left him one long scene before drowning everything into a firefight. Good ideas, poorly executed

Nebular said...

Ben, I couldn't agree more. The execution was lacking and the whole movie was just 'okay'. Parks was outshined by Leo, but still very good.

Maynard Morrissey said...

Yeah, "Red State" is a pretty weird movie with a few unnecessary flaws. Still, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

Nebular said...

Harry, though not a fan of Kevin Smith, I expected something much better than what I got. It was brilliant at times and pretty terrible at others. I thought it was okay.

Maynard Morrissey said...

Yeah, 'ok' sums it up pretty good :)

btw, it's great to see that you finally have the time for more blog updates!

Nebular said...

Thanks, Harry. I missed your comments a lot. I thought you forgot about my existence. :) I'm done with school, and here I am! This October expect ONLY horror movie reviews from me.

You know what, on Oct 14 I'll participate in a blogfest called "Pay It Forward", where we should name the 3 blogs we love to visit the most. And yours is one of my picks. I'm a fan, you know. :)

Maynard Morrissey said...

Nah, impossible to forget about my fave movie blogger :)

Oh my goodness, really??? I feel truly honored, not only because you pick me, but also because on Oct 14 I celebrate my birthday!!

I takes this as a birthday present :)

Nebular said...

I had no idea your birthday is on Oct 14. Seriously. Now that's what I call a good timing! ;)

Yep, really. Over the last months I realized I'm quite attracted to your blog. I always check it first and love to read your reviews, because you deliver them exactly the way I like it - short, sweet, enthusiastic, to-the-point, and filled with great humor. :)

Maynard Morrissey said...

Yeah, perfect timing!

Thank you very, very much. I try my best. My English skills slowly get better and my reviews become longer and more expressive.
Better English through Blogging :D

I also love your blog and it's also one of the first that I check out on my daily/weekly routines.

Your short'n'sweet in-a-nutshell writing-style is brilliant and I just adore the design of your blog. Still the best-looking blog out there in the movie blogosphere!

Nebular said...

You're welcome, Maynard. So, on Oct 14 expect many, many new visitors and followers.

Your English skills have improved vastly over the last couple of months, there's no doubt about that. :)

I like your reviews just the way they are. A longer review does not mean a better review, so keep those short'n'sweet. Not that yours are unnecessary long, don't get me wrong. At the moment, they are quite perfect and I like the fact that your always subjective about them. Being an objective movie reviewer is quite boring and uninteresting for the readers.

Thanks, buddy, that's a huge compliment. Visuals have always been very important for me - in movies, blogs or otherwise. After all, that's what catches the human eye first. :) And, no, I'm not a fan of the 'all style no substance' thing. It all has to be complex! :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Don't sound like my style of film. And if you didn't like it, I probably won't either.

Nebular said...

No, Alex, I don't think it's your type of movie at all. Avoid it, otherwise you may find your self quite bored.

Ricky said...

Ha Ha. I think Alex should give it a go. At least we agreed on the performances George.

Nebular said...

Ricky, and I think he shouldn't. :)
The performances were outstanding, no doubt about that. Melissa Leo blew me away yet again.

Kev D. said...

I'll be excited to see if it stands up to other dialogue driven horror...

Nebular said...

Kev, I don't mind dialogue-driven movies at all, but this one was just too much.

Melissa Bradley said...

Though I did not think this was a great film and yes, Kevin is quite esoteric, I love how he, in my opinion, portrayed these conservative Christian yahoos as they really are. They hate everyone, but themselves and wish the rest of us were dead. They have Jesus camps where they espouse the same principles as Al Quaida. Only they think they're right because it's Jesus and not Mohammed who drives their crazy train. Sarah Palin is their queen.

And sorry, I'm ranting.:) Though Kevin's movie is rather lackluster in execution, the script is great. I liked it.

Candice Frederick said...

ugh. it can' figure out a genre, huh? i hate that

M. Hufstader said...

Considering the fact that I've more or less accepted Kevin Smith's pretentiousness with open arms, I'm thinking I have to check this one out. Even if only for the great acting and the insane plot. Great review!

Maynard Morrissey said...

@George:
many new visitors & followers - nice!! :)

Yeah, my English is not as lame as it was a year ago. I guess, the more I read and watch in English, the more my skills improve.
I realized that at the festival. Even a movie like "Kill List" where every actor talks in a gruesome Scottish dialect, was fully understandable to me. No need for subtitles

Well, I wasn't ever planning on doing longer reviews, and I admit, I have no idea why they became longer recently. The words just pop out of me

Yeah, it's boring to be objective. Subjective is definitely way more fun :)

You're totally right. It has to be eye-catching to arouse anybody's interest.

Nebular said...

Mel, I absolutely agree with you about the way he presented Christians, that's why I found the film to be believable. And yes, the script is strong, I mentioned that in my review. :) Glad to see you back, hon!

Nebular said...

Candice, I hate this type of bad hybrid films, which can't decide what genre they fit in.

Nebular said...

M. Hufstader, thank you so much! :)
Not that I don't get Smith, I just don't like him as a director. The mood of his films is somewhat depressing. LOL. The acting was absolutely fantastic! The movie is worth-seeing for the performances alone.

Nebular said...

Harry, I hope you'll get many new followers. I really do, because I think you deserve it. :)

As for the English improvement. Exactly the same happened to me two or three years ago. As one moment I realized that thanks to the writing, reading, listening and talking, my skills reached another level. I think self-education is the best way to learn a language. And believe me, your English skills will only get better and better. ;)

Pat Hatt said...

Great review, another horro movie that just can't get it right, go figure.

Nebular said...

Pat, thanks a lot. It didn't get it right for sure. I expected a lot more.

Civil War Horror (Sean McLachlan) said...

Ah! There's something about women carrying automatic weapons. . .

I came across this blog because of the Pay it Forward blogfest. I read several of your reviews and liked what I saw. I've bookmarked you. Keep up the good work!

Oh, I saw The Deerhunter on the big screen last night here in Santander, Spain. Haven't seen that film in 20 years. I remembered it was a great movie, but had forgotten just how great. One of the top ten movies of all time? Hard to say without seeing a helluva lot more movies. Certainly top 100.

Nebular said...

Sean, wow, thank you so much for the kind words. Appreciate it!

Do not get mislead by this cool poster, because "Red State" is everything but sexy. LOL.

Glad you found me through the blogfest and thanks for bookmarking me. Menas a lot.

If I have to be honest I've never heard of Deerhunter. Should I check it out?

HorrO said...

Lol! I could see why you were 50/50 on this movie. Sorry I missed out on your event but I was out of town this weekend celebrating my birthday in horror style. Otherwise, you know I would have participated. I hope it went well.

Nebular said...

Horr), yes, I loved it as much as I hated it. My event? No, man, it wasn't my event, I just participated in it, and I mentioned your blog as one of my favorites. Did you miss that post?

HorrO said...

Oh! I guess I did missed it. I remember seeing a picture on your site, but never got back to clicking on it. I have been traveling back and forth the last two weeks so things have been crazy. Thanks for mentioning me, and I'm sorry I missed out on the event.

Nebular said...

It's okay, don't worry about it. I'll send it to you again, but promise me you'll read it this time around!

You're welcome, buddy ;)