Red State

As far a departure as you can get from his indie roots and toilets humour Kevin Smith returns with ‘Red State’ a horror/thriller/social commentary piece that sadly fails to be anything other than a bit of a mess. That said it is a watchable movie, the story is ok, the acting is great and some of the camera work and direction is really good, what lets it down is the lack of a clear message, genre and overall focus. There are some great parts and there are some bad, like the ending which will polarise people across the board (incidentally the ending was not what Smith had intended, they ran out of money and so he adapted) it will infuriate some and confuse others.  Script wise Smith didn’t stick to it rigidly allowing the cast to riff slightly, this is evident in Michael Parks ‘Abin Cooper’ the leader of the Five Points Church whose chilling misguided ramblings are a highlight, more so because unlike a monster/demon etc these people can and do actually exist. His supporting cast of fanatic followers are only outshined by Goodman as ATF agent Keenan who is not only convincing but gets some of the best lines despite not making an appearance until 30 minutes into the film. With a budget of just $5000 the effects team did themselves proud often looking better than most of today’s CGI blockbusters and the action is, while not to the standards of say Mann, directed competently. With Smith distributing the film himself my hat is off, I just wish that it was a little more coherent, it clearly has something to say, unfortunately I feel it may get lost in the debate as to whether Smith can do serious or should bring back Silent Bob.

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