Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review: Red State

Grade: A+

In a middle America town, the Cooper family is a well known media circus of a family that run a fundamentalist church called the Five Points Church and protest at people’s funerals. The entire family, which is the entire congregation of the church, lives in a compound in an area known as Coopers Dell. One day, a trio of high school boys receive an invitation from a woman online to have sex with her. The three of them end up wondering into Coopers Dell in order to meet up with the woman. When they show up, things take a horrible turn as they boys end up drugged and taken captive by the Cooper family who have a much more devious plan to strike the fear of God into people than anybody knows.

I would just like to start off by saying that I am going to keep this review spoiler free, I won’t put anymore information in this review than I had before I went to see this movie. Red State is the latest from writer/director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma); however, this movie is absolutely nothing like anything he’s done before. To start, it is not a comedy, it’s a horror movie, in a way. One thing I kept hearing after it played at Sundance is that “Red State doesn’t know what kind of movie it wants to be.” Well, I completely disagree, Kevin Smith knew exactly what he wanted Red State to be, which is a wild ride. It starts off sounding and looking like a teen-sex comedy but it quickly takes a dark turn. But then, even after that, it makes a few more major tonal and thematic shifts. To sum it up generally, the three major parts of the movie are sex, religion and politics, the three things that you aren’t supposed to talk about in polite conversation. Overall, I would definitely say that the movie is unsettling, it really makes you form your own opinions and makes you chose how you’re going to feel about what is happening.

Red State also doesn’t look like anything that Kevin Smith has ever done. It is an amazingly shot movie and it looks downright beautiful at times. I really enjoyed the look of this movie, it really helped the overall feel of the movie. It would switch from nice steady cam shots to really well done hand-held shots to help amplify what was happening on screen. This is probably the best looking movie that Kevin Smith has made. It’s especially awe-inspiring considering the extremely low budget that the movie was made on.

Michael Parks (Planet Terror, From Dusk Till Dawn) plays the role of Abin Cooper, the head of the family and leader of the Five Points Church. Parks is absolutely amazing in this movie. His performance as Abin is absolutely incredible and very disturbing. He hit all the notes of this role just right. I haven’t seen a performance like this in a while, I would say Oscar worthy, but the academy will ignore this movie. He gives a sermon at one point in the movie which is just incredible to listen to him speak the way he does, again, awe-inspiring and yet deeply disturbing at the same time. Melissa Leo (The Fighter, Conviction) plays the role of Sara Cooper. Leo is absolutely amazing in this movie. I enjoyed her performance in this movie and thought that it was better than her performance in The Fighter, just great. John Goodman (In the Electric Mist, Speed Racer) plays the role of Joseph Keenan, an ATF agent. Goodman was just fantastic in this movie. He gave a great, raw and sometimes funny performance. The movie features amazing performances by everybody in the movie, which includes Michael Angarano, Nicholas Braun, Kyle Gallner, Stephen Root, Kerry Bishe, Ralph Garman, Kevin Pollak and many more.

Red State is a superb movie that is unlike anything I have ever seen before. It will make you laugh and it’ll leave you shaken. It is extremely well written and shot and deals with some subjects that not many people are willing to tackle these days. It is a bold movie to say the least and is an absolute must see. Just an overall incredibly made movie. I loved every second of Red State and I really hope that people get out to see this movie.

Great quote: “People do strange things when they feel entitled. They do even stranger things when they believe.”

Red State is available on demand now! For more information on that click here.
Res State will be in theaters one night only in select theaters on Spetember 25, for more information click here.
Red State will be available on DVD and Blu-ray October 18!

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