“Fuck you Mr. Smith” – A review of “Red State”

This has actually been posted elsewhere – I originally Posted it on Reddit.com. I broke my single sentence rule on the review, so I was reluctant to post it here, being a man of principals and all. Then I remembered, I MADE the damn rule. So break it I shall, based on newly minted principals.  

Henceforth The “Red State” Review:

Fuck you Mr. Smith.

I was a fan. Your entrance into the “Indie” scene was as eloquent as it was brief. With the sale of “Clerks” you were truly no longer an “Independent” film maker. This was not a shortcoming in my opinion.

Dialogue being at the heart of every flick, and there always being a glimmer of your own heart in the process, it kept me coming back for each successive “Smith Flick”.

You were the “Clerks” guy! “Silent Bob”! You were approachable, you appreciated your audience and unlike so many other characters in Hollywood, you did not speak through a publicist, it became a perpetual flood from your mouth to the worlds’ eyes and ears.

Throughout my enjoyment as a Fan, on thing always carried well in my mind, if I were so motivated, I could make a film.

You presented that fact at what seemed every opportunity, if someone wanted to be a filmmaker, a writer, a director; they need only decide they WERE such a thing.

This brings me to my viewing of “Red State”, a flick that can be classified as nothing less than a true independent film. I had some expectations; there had been some buzz, so I believed I was in for a different kind of “Kevin Smith” film. This is what was promised, except that was not what was delivered.

What was delivered was something else entirely. I was disturbed. The story unfolds at first in a very device like fashion and a little bit of clunky exposition allows for the main elements to be outlined. The first ten minutes read like a beginners guide to filmmaking checklist.

You know where the flick is headed and with this genres tank coming up on empty, there is just nothing new to offer.

Until about fifteen minutes in, then much like the feeling you get when a small child falls from a piece of playground equipment, the world slows a little and things become very, very surreal.

Moments ago you were reading your book, looking up and giving a smile, now you are locked in you seat, watching, powerlessly as the world folds in on itself.

“Red State” does break traditional rules of filmmaking, it simply ignores them. It sidesteps perception, it takes a meandering trip through moral implications, right and wrong, good and bad and leaves you breathless, spent and wondering what the hell just happened.

Michael Parks gives a powerful performance, a performance that burrows its way into your skull and refuses to leave. John Goodman is the everyman, and brings nothing but grace and gravitas to his own role.

There was such honesty and subtlety to each character, each and every cast member took their moment of film, and owned it. 

In the end what becomes truly horrifying about this little tale, is how possible it really is.  

So, until this moment Mr. Smith, I have always felt like I could be a filmmaker. That dream, is now fractured.

So, with respect, fuck you sir.

There will be many to say this film “Redefines” Kevin Smith, personally I think that we have all been “Defining” him wrong to begin with.

Published in: on March 18, 2011 at 6:34 am  Leave a Comment