God Is In The TV > Reviews > Film in Focus: Red, White & Blue

Film in Focus: Red, White & Blue

red white blue




RELEASED SEPTEMBER 30th 2011 (selected cinemas)

British director Simon Rumley’s follow-up feature to his excellent study of mental illness and paranoia, The Living & the Dead, is surprising in the fact that it is shot in the US, yet remains a keenly observed and deeply personal work (Rumley wrote, produced and directed).

Told loosely in three segments, the film begins with Erica, a promiscuous, emotionally cold individual living on the fringes of American society. She befriends a fellow tenant, Nate, in the apartment block she resides, warmed to the fact that Nate seems to want more from her than sex.

The middle section concentrates on Frankie, guitarist and someone who previously we saw having group sex with Erica and his band. Dealing with his mother’s cancer treatment and recent news he is HIV positive through his sexual encounter with Erica, he goes off the rails and goes after Erica.

The final third follows Nate, who himself is a disturbed individual, having fought in the Iraq war, as well as having some dark, violent childhood secrets.

It is a testament to Rumley, who like his previous feature, manages much on obvious budget restraints. His narrative never going too far, stitching the three stories together to make a powerful whole. The outstanding editing further takes away from what could easily have come across as an amateurish exercise, constantly pushing the intensity of the narrative forward into inevitable territories of violence. All the performances are credible, especially the vulnerable Frankie, with Amanda Fuller’s performance full of self-loathing and loneliness, crying out to be noticed in the world.

This is a clever subversion of the revenge thriller. The narrative taking the conventions of the genre one step further, with a denouement that is satisfyingly played out. Its closest cinematic companion would be Buddy Giovanazzo’s Combat Shock (aka. American Nightmare). An intensely bleak depiction of human nature, which is not so much an evocation of the American dream, but more Rumley’s own portrait of the American nightmare.

[Rating: 3.5]

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