Monday, 10 October 2011

Red, White & Blue


Although the UK Premiere of Red White & Blue screened over a year ago at Film4 Frightfest 2010 it has been a long journey for British Director Simon Rumley’s psycho-sexual horror to receive an official UK release date. On the 30th September Red, White & Blue will finally reach cinemas across the country.

 Erica (Amanda Fuller) is a disaffected young woman who spends her time being generally unpleasant- swearing, smoking and having meaningless sexual encounters with the strange men in her home town of Austin, Texas. Emotionally withdrawn and tragically damaged, the nymphomaniac does whatever she can to distract her from, what is later revealed as, her haunting past of sexual abuse as a child; losing her virginity at the age of four…to her mother’s boyfriend. The opening montage of scenes which demonstrates her promiscuous revenge is cleverly manipulated by Rumley, neither condemning nor glorifying Erica’s actions. 

Enter Nate (Noah Tyler), an Iraqi war veteran who received an honourable discharge (the reason not made known), but more importantly a neighbour to Erica in a boarding house in Austin. He too appears secluded and withdrawn, even creepy at times, but despite this Rumley creates a likeable character who genuinely tries to help the unreachable Erica, whether she wants it or not. Although his efforts are instantly rejected by the fact that she doesn’t ‘, he insists on building a protective aura around her. When she gets fired from her job of mopping floors at a local restaurant, Nate finds her employment at his workplace in a DIY warehouse where we gradually see their relationship bloom into a fragile but tender friendship.

 Meanwhile, the story skips to young wannabe rock star, Frankie. Despite the band member’s aggressive and sulky attitude, we are conflicted in our opinions as we learn that Frankie is in fact a full-time carer for his beloved mother who has been diagnosed with cancer. 

While Rumley dedicates a considerable amount of plot to the character development of these central figures, this slow-burn thriller is quickly turned on its head when Frankie receives some terrible news. As the stories intertwine and the lives of the trio become tangled in a second-revelation that proves life-changing for all three, the movie quickly spirals into a heart-racing and disturbing tale…with one dominating theme: Revenge. All of a sudden, things get nasty. The calm and tranquil atmosphere carefully crafted by Rumley in the first two-thirds of the movie loses all inhibition as we are thrown into several unsettling torture scenes.

Rumley obviously didn’t hold back in this one. The artistic but brutal approach in these scenes are nothing less than harrowing, and are vivid reminders of the extreme violent techniques adopted by Gaspar Noe’s in his 2002 release Irreversible. As the mental instability from Nate’s war-time past resurfaces, we see less of his seemingly-gentle natured self and instead witness the actions of a cruel and calculated machine; actions that Rumley guarantees to be explicitly unnerving.

Not to be ignored is the use of the music score by Richard Chester (who also worked on the score for Rumley’s ‘The Living and the Dead.’) Although absent for most of the film, it plays for the first four minutes in the opening scenes, setting the tone superbly for what is to come. It proves pivotal in the latter scenes where it’s contrasting composition is used as the primary tool for heightening emotion and suspense- notably effective in one of the final scenes where Nate is able to finally feed his hunger for revenge….and boy was he hungggrryyyyyyy!

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