Movie Review: “Red State”

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, October 28, 2011 at 10:00 am.

(Photo: SModcast Pictures)

Summary: A small town is terrorized by a religious cult that loves guns and hates gays and fornicators. When three young teens are abducted by the cult, a cultural clash between the fundamentalists and the law erupts.

Review: Kevin Smith’s Red State deserves some gold stars for originality, especially in a year of remakes and remixes bombing at the box office. Written and directed by Smith, the indie film tackles the craziness of a religious cult while presenting the viciousness of the government. Considering these divisive political times, Smith’s unique but interpretive message provokes thought:  whether you are fanatical for your religion or your government, both can be destructive.

Red State glows when building tension, almost going the route of horror, but this is a flick full of many “almosts” — it’s almost action, almost horror, almost groundbreaking and almost excellent. However, due to janky plot twists, several irreversible holes are blown in the film.

At the climax of the Red State there is a massive shift in the story, which will leave some disappointed or others open to tackling it with their own interpretation. Furthermore, the last 20 minutes make the flick feel unfinished. Even with all of those flaws, Red State still remains one of the more original and intellectual movies of the year.

Red State stars Oscar winner Melissa Leo and Roseanne star John Goodman. The entire cast were believable in their fanatical roles, regardless if their characters weren’t properly fleshed out.

The disappointments are big, but there are enough redemptive moments to patch up the flaws. That said, what is most interesting is Smith’s way of distributing the film. Red State has been available on iTunes and online since September 1. Only recently has the film hit select theaters. Always the artistic revolutionary, Smith delivered Red State directly to his audience, something all independent filmmakers should take note of.

Red State is playing in select cities.

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