Red White and Blue
Red White and Blue
turns out to be a much
different film than we expect it will be in the early going. It starts out
as an arty and slightly sordid look at sex addiction and a woman trying to
work past her demons. Then, suddenly, the movie’s thrust and tone become
much darker. (Oh, yes, it can go in darker directions than that.)
film is rather quiet and inscrutable. It is literally five minutes before
there is any dialogue at all, and another two before the main character
speaks. (At least she seems like the main character early on – more about
name is Erica, a rootless woman in her late twenties who has the habit of
hanging at bars, getting drunk and going home with strangers for one night
stands. She only has two rules – she doesn’t fuck the same guy twice and
she doesn’t do friends.
first meet her in a strip club, where she ends up meeting and sleeping with
three guys in a local band (a fourth guy, who is married, just watches).
Then she goes home and tries desperately to wash the dirt from herself in
seems to be trying to get her life back in order, in her own neurotic way.
She finally gets a legit (if slightly menial) job at a local hardware
superstore. (Though some habits are hard to break – she apparently ends up
sleeping with most of her bosses.) She befriends a little boy she meets at
the park – obviously supplementing her desire to be a mother.
also enters into an uneasy platonic friendship
with Nate, a skeletally thin, bearded former Iraq vet who lives at the same
boarding house she does, works at the lumber center and claims to be being
courted by the CIA for an important job. On their first extended
conversation, he tells her about his history of torturing small animals as a
child. Despite the red flags that kind of thing would raise in most people,
Erica sees him as a fellow wounded soul.
Erica has a deep dark secret, one that she will not share with anyone.
after a half hour of following Erica around, the film abruptly (literally
with no warning) switches lanes and goes back to tell us the story of Franki,
one of the guys that Erica met in that initial gang bang.
we go through an additional twenty minutes where Erica is mostly forgotten
about and we catch up with what happened with Franki and his friends – his
mother who is suffering from cancer, his band which is finally taking off,
his troubled relationship with his girlfriend and his dead end job at a
Eventually, halfway through the film, the two meet again (though using the
word “meet” is a very polite way of putting it). This “reunion” ends up
I said earlier, despite lots of arty and moody touches, as the movie winds
down it becomes something quite different than it appears to be early on,
devolving into an extremely violent (quite often disturbingly violent)
frankly, it becomes a much less interesting film – at least in my opinion.
first half hour of Red White and Blue seemed fresh and explored some
dark corners not often looked in by film. Even the extended introduction to
Franki had some intriguing family drama.
Then, the two characters are thrust back together and the last half becomes
something we’ve all seen before – mostly people getting hunted down and
attacked by a mad, malevolent force.
film is unique because the violence becomes exceptionally graphic –
particularly with the last death – but I’m not so
sure that should really be a selling point. I am not a squeamish person and
even I had to look away from the screen in more than one occasion towards
the end. This sort of violence should be in torture porn exploitation
movies like the Saw or Hostel franchises, but it really has
little place in what is essentially a quirky and arty independent film.
also not sure why the film is titled Red White and Blue. Other than
the fact that one of the characters wears a beat-up jeans jacket with a
patch of the American flag embroidered on it, there seems to be little
explanation for the title. (Though the later scenes
have an abundance of red
but where are the white and blue?) Unless, of course, the filmmakers are trying to
make a kind of pretentious suggestion that this is what has become of life
in America in the new millennium.
as cynical as the next guy, but I don’t buy that for a second.
Red White and Blue
is made with enough
craft, fine acting and cleverness that it does merit a viewing from those
who are open-minded and not easily shocked. However, if you decide to skip
the second half of the movie, I couldn’t blame you at all.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: October 13, 2010.