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Movie Review: Red State

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Prinz Lee wrote this review 6 years and 4 months ago

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REDSTATE director Kevin Smith really did away with what he’s best known for—the independent comedy scene. Remember his first flicks? CLERKS, DOGMA, MALLRATS… Well, yeah, the man we all knew and grew to admire has taken a dive in a direction which happens to be one that’s totally opposite and full of nooks-and-crannies when it comes to fragile minds, those who prey on it and disgusting results when merging both. 

Never ceasing to amaze with his creativity, Smith’s REDSTATE is a film which needs to be watched with an open mind and truly understand depths within the core of subjects he covers in this movie. One: Extremism, Two: Ignorance, Three: Vulnerability, Four: Manipulation and Five: The tangled web in which all connect created by a source which stems as the root-of-all-evil…man! 

REDSTATE traces the barnyard cow shit, which exists as patches in this great nation of ours. The film follows a homophobic cult-like preacher who leads his parishioners in capturing sexually active teens, gay and straight, and tying them up in the inner sanctum of his church where the boys are fucked with in every way imaginable, while tied to a cross, and believing it’s ALL done in the name of God. Parallel to this mind-fucking occurrences, strange awareness is brought upon the law, leading to a shred of discomfort between Preacher and Police. After harsh evidence, police realize they need to act, set up a roadblock outside the church, and the twists continue to present themselves as the battle between “Good” and “Evil” erupts.

If there’s something I know clearly is that if there were a listing of the most dysfunctional films ever, REDSTATE would be a definite slide in. The writing in this film is so creepy, while watching, I totally felt drawn to an existence which millions and millions across the world experience on a daily basis, while serving as sheep. It’s clear as writer, Kevin Smith has done his cryptic homework when studying these jerk-off Christian-extremists as they preach to their herd. 

Michael Parks plays the role of “Preacher: Abin Cooper,” and quite frankly, I don’t know if there could have been another actor that could have really portrayed this gritty, dark, deranged person. Abin is a man who really knows his people (most being members of his family) and doesn’t rule with an “Iron-Fist,” rather with the slickness of his tongue, following flaky synapses from his brain which allows him to believe that God’s ways are meant to be at any cost THEY see fit! Fearing God’s might, taking matters into his own hands is what Abin knows best due to working up his place in heaven. 

Abin’s nutty existence is so creepy in many ways, that his influences are those that lead to a disarray of events which again felt hard to believe it was Smith behind the film, and not Rob Zombie. All along it seemed like Zombie had dipped his finger in this piece, but I was quite surprised at the level of vile, deranged and unique colors brushed on by Kevin.

Aside from Parks, his work is also complimented by a cast made up of one Oscar winner (Melissa Leo), one Golden Globe winner (Goodman) and the rest are unknowns. Leo and Goodman both deliver amazingly strong performances. The unknowns are surprisingly good, but they’re not particularly shining, as they’re only molded to serve on a peripheral level. Less is more and I guess in their case, it elevated them to a degree.

Crossing genres is never an easy task, and although the film can come across as a bit uneven or even give one the feeling of “What the fuck am I watching?” It does provide a different feeling within Kevin’s direction from the most common one pertaining to humor. Ok, maybe not the best film ever, but REDSTATE is worth a watch. When granted, you’ll either love it or hate it, but you won’t deny the feeling will be unique and also one that will have this film resonating within you for a bit… I really enjoyed it, respect it for what it is and what it presented itself to be, and I’m sure will continue to cause a stir considering its birth and release. This is Kevin Smith’s lowest budget film to date since CHASING AMY and will remain one of his assets as a piece which clearly said “Fuck You” to the system.



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