Red State

Got excited because for a second it looked like this brutally literal-minded thriller might actually end with the rapture — trumpets, horsemen, etc. — but no such luck. Red State is such a blunt, ugly attack on (among many other things) believers and belief that you might yearn for the brand of religion-tweaking that Smith employed a decade ago in Dogma, which wasn’t much subtler but was at least witty. Since then, he has progressed tremendously as a director — this is handsome, well-mounted horror, nervy, brisk and intense — but seems to have lost all perspective. This is an indiscriminately angry film, full of the sort of one-dimensionally evil assholes that hardly ever really exist, and aren’t much of a threat when they do. A few nice touches here and there — I loved John Goodman asking to get his orders in writing in the middle of a firefight — and Smith does marshal a tremendous cast for what’s really B-movie schlock, but alas he is mostly knocking down straw men and seething at phantoms.

 

Eugene Novikov

Seeking in movies meaning and reflection in real-time. On the look out for biography, thriller & drama best pieces.

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