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STUDIO: IFC Films
RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes
• Commentary track
• Making of
• Blooper Reel
• Deleted Scenes
In Austin, TX three people’s lives become brutally connected.
Written, produced, and directed by Simon Rumley, starring Noah Taylor, Amanda Fuller, and Marc Senter.
One of the most disturbing and alarmingly realistic revenge movies in years.
British director Simon Rumley’s follow up to his 2006 visceral anxiety attack of a movie, The Living and the Dead, is one helluva revenge movie. I don’t want to pigeonhole it though by calling it simply a revenge movie, because it’s also one helluva romantic movie. You wouldn’t want to watch Red White & Blue on the first (or even the second) date with your new sweetheart, mind you. One of you may get sick and never want to have sex again.
Red White & Blue begins with young Erica (Amanda Fuller) on the prowl for dudes in an Austin bar. She becomes flirty with a band and ends up sleeping with all of them, including frontman Franki (Marc Senter). Then we follow Erica as she checks into an Austin hostel, works a bit, and then hits up more nightspots suitors. Through all of this she’s numb to any kind of affection or kindness. The only time she doesn’t seem absolutely repulsed by human contact is when she’s in the sack with a stranger. And even during the act she appears to be disconnected.
Another resident of the hostel is Nate, a quiet introvert played by fantastic Aussie actor Noah Taylor. Nate is drawn to Erica, so lucky for him she gets a job at the same hardware store as him. The unlikely duo gradually become friends and then more than friends. Although they become lovers, there’s a father-daughter dynamic to their relationship and without any extraneous dialogue, it’s easy to see that Nate is extremely protective of Erica. She never pries too deep into her new boyfriend’s past, but it’s apparent he’s been on his own for a while and there’s some sort of darkness chasing him.
Cut to Franki, one of those young blokes Erica slept with in the opening minutes of the movie. The story now follows him for awhile as he practices with his band, works his shit job at a diner, and takes care of his mother who is dying of leukemia. Despite his rough exterior, it’s easy to see that Franki’s a momma’s boy through and through. He loves her more than anyone in the world and on the other hand, equally despises his father who left them both to struggle through her sickness alone. One of the selfless ways Franki helps his mom is by giving blood for her transfusions. This is where shit goes downhill for our cast at an obscene rate.
I’ll stop there. Following Franki’s donation of blood, Red White & Blue takes a frightening left turn of no return into the bowels of humanity’s coldest corners and I’d hate to ruin anything for you. I will state that every step the film takes towards its bloody climax is 100 percent believable and chilling. That’s what make the film so goddamn intense – how realistic it is. The tone of the film’s climax, while it’s almost unbearably tense, also separates it from other genre films and lifts it above the realm of torture porn. The music, the pacing, the cinematography, everything makes those final minutes feel more than just gore for gore’s sake.
The cast is exceptional across the board – Noah Taylor especially. The Aussie actor has an economical way of moving and speaking that makes Nate all the more enigmatic and threatening. His path of revenge is made all the more potent by his face, which resembles a cross between a baby bird and the highway to hell. If Nate came at me with a knife I would instantly faint (after shitting my pants). Amanda Fuller nails it as the emotionally distant and damaged Erica. While she drifts through much of the film’s first half, her time to shine comes when she’s confronted by Franki later on. The speech she delivers concerning the origins of her promiscuous is as heartbreaking as it is twisted. As loving momma’s boy slash rock and roller Franki, Marc Senter has a phenomenal character arc that the actor pulls off strongly.
Rumley, who has a short in the upcoming ABCs of Death anthology, knocks it out of the park with this film – defying genre expectations and carving his own face on the Mt. Rushmore of revenge movies. For an Englishman to name his tale of revenge and love an American-as-hell title as Red White & Blue, he’s gotta be able to back it up. Rumley certainly has.
The Making of Red White & Blue is great and features all of the lead actors, Rumley, producer Bob Portal, a well as cinematographer Milton Kam. Kam talks about the decision to use handheld and how it added to the film’s edge. Rumley explains how his aim was to have the audience relate to Nate – as crazy as that sounds. All of the leads get to discuss their characters and where the backgrounds they thought up for them.
People be messin’ up. You can learn all about that in the bloopers.
The deleted scenes are actually just two extended scenes: more of Erica getting laid and more of Franki’s band The Exits practicing.
Rumley and producer Bob Portal do a great job on commentary duties. They go in depth on several topics, including how hard it was to find an actress down with the buck naked sex scenes, their decision to shoot in America, and how Audition influenced the look of the climax. The boys reign hefty praise upon the city of Austin, how easy the locations were to work with, and talk about the involvement of the Alamo Drafthouse’s Tim League, who was an executive producer on the film.
The Red White & Blue DVD is a definite buy.
Rating: Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars