Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Red Raw

Red Road, Cineworld, Broad Street, Birmingham, Sunday October 29 2006, 12.55.

Andrea Arnold's Glasgow-set Red Road (2006) is deliberately-paced and realistically shot, building its tension as much from what we don't know of the characters' past as it does from what will happen to them in the future. It's a technique that will irritate as many as it will intrigue, but nobody could deny that this is a bold and willfully different film featuring vivid and vulnerable performances from the two leads.

The film begins with a police CCTV operator (Tinsel Town's Kate Dickie) monitoring a bank of screens, following everyday lives on the city's streets in minute and intermittently amusing and disturbing detail. The voyeurism is given a sharper focus when she spots a face from her past, giving her the impetus to extend her stalking into the real world as she integrates herself into the demi-monde that populate a striking tower block where her target lives.

What begins as a buckfast re-draught of surveillance thriller classics like Antonioni's Blow-Up and Coppola's The Conversation steadily emerges into emotional territory altogether more troubling and difficult to resolve, as a graphic and real-looking sex scene provides a level of catharsis and epiphany neither participant quite anticipates. In the final analysis, a more accurate thematic forebear is that other traumatic Scottish-set Scandinavian-conceived moving picture, Lars Von Trier's Breaking The Waves (1996). If you loved that film, you will surely enjoy enduring this one.

Related link: before the screening they showed the trailer for Guillermo Del Toro's adult fairytale Pan's Labyrinth which looks mighty promising, don't you agree?


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