REVIEWED BY: Kami Posted on 25/11/2009
What I love about being a film reviewer is those moments when you are totally taken by surprise, when you agree to review a movie you know nothing about and it just grabs you by the throat and demands your attention, makes you remember what it is about movies you love in the first place. Red is one of those movies.
Adapted from a Jack Ketchum novel and starting off like a Disney flick, an old man Avery Ludlow (character actor and the original Hannibal Lecter Brian Cox) going fishing with his faithful dog Red, beautiful Midwestern scenery, the dog laying there, the man just relaxing on the banks of the river we are soon confronted with the difference between generations as three teen boys arrive looking for something – action, money, something to happen. Sensing this though Avery talks calmly and slowly trying to keep control while the boys – leader Danny, his brother Harold and their friend Pete try to shake him down for money. When things don’t quite go their way, Danny sensing a need to take back control of the situation, commits a senseless act of violence that even though you know is coming still takes your breath away. He shoots the dog for no other reason than because he can then calmly walks away.
From here on, the story is about Avery’s quest for justice, for some sort of apology from the boy and his family but that isn’t going to happen. Danny’s father McCormack (played by Tom Sizemore) has money and power and refuses to acknowledge that his boy would do such a thing and ignoring the obvious lies from his sons, he turns the old man away.
As the story unfolds though we find that there is more to this than just Danny’s behaviour, Avery’s own eldest son has a story too – a bad egg who killed his sibling and his mother, leaving the old man with just the dog – and you soon realise that Avery is trying to get some sort of redemption himself, maybe trying to save the younger boy Harold from being dragged down with his brother. As things escalate though, Avery giving Danny some of his own back, Avery’s store being burnt down in retaliation, the story becomes one of single bloody mindedness – Avery versus McCormack, an old man looking for justice versus a father defending his son no matter what the consequences.
The final tragic confrontation is inevitable but still sad.
What we have here is not your usual vigilante/revenge story – no Charles Bronson or Robert Ginty here, just an old man who doesn’t understand the new world, the viciousness and nihilism of the new rich and who just wants some answers, some old fashioned justice and honesty. Beautifully filmed, the story slowly unfolds, the characters develop under their own pace and the subtle touches, the rusty slide, the wife’s bruises, Robert Englund’s cameo as Pete’s dirt poor dad, the scenery all add to the atmosphere, the slow build up and you find yourself drawn in, knowing it can’t end well but hoping it does anyway.
Brian Cox as Avery holds the film together with his slow burning single mindedness, his quiet but tough demeanour, his quest for justice while Noel Fisher as Danny does a great job of being the nihilistic, spoilt brat bully who does what he wants and who just doesn’t care who gets hurt.
Ignore the promotion that seems to hint at a bloodthirsty revenge story, this is much more than that – this is a story about values, about the confrontations between old world values and new, about kinship, companionship and about a world that is slowly disappearing.
DIRECTOR(S): Lucky McKee / Trygve Allister | COUNTRY: USA | YEAR 2008 | DISTRIBUTOR(S): Vendetta | RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes | ASPECT RATIO: 1.78 : 1 | REGION: 4 | DISCS: 1
Order through WOW HD and recieve a 5% Cinemania fan discount on every order