October 8, 2010
Amanda Fuller as Erica
Marc Senter as Franki
Noah Taylor as Nate
Some films fall within the overall horror genre in many respects, yet are not straight up horror or gory revenge films – and so may not be for everyone. What director Simon Rumley has brought us with Red, White and Blue is a heart wrenching story of three people whose lives intersect and collide in a brutal, emotionally draining way that leaves no hope for a “happy ending”.
In the skillfully shot silent opening sequence we are introduced to Erica as she trolls the bars and slums of a small town looking for a man (or men) to spend a little time with. The graphic opening sequence implies a vintage exploitation movie, but that is not the case – the director is planting the seeds for things to come. We follow Erica in her day-to-day life, in the boarding house where she lives in and her random rendezvous with the men that she meets. To say she is promiscuous is being kind. While at the boarding house she meets a drifter named Nate who is an Iraq war vet with more than a few issues, who comes off as someone that you do not want to cross. Their bond and friendship slowly grows as she gets a much-needed job at the same place where he works. From the time they meet and speak to each other for the first time it is clear that Nate is not looking for the sexual gratification that she provides everyone else, but Erica pushes away the caring friendship he offers in leu of anonymous and carefree flings. Nate continues to silently be there for Erica and his persistence eventually pays off… both of them find what they both were looking for to fill the voids in their existence.
Just as we are becoming fully engrossed in the story of Erica and Nate we are thrown head first into Franki’s life and ordeals that he is going through. This sudden shift is a little jarring at first but makes perfect sense in the grand scheme of things. Franki is an up and coming rocker that is trying to make things happen with his band while also dealing with caring for and supporting his mom who is suffering from cancer. Franki’s journey is filled with highs and lows from his band getting a big time tour and his mom’s positive cancer prognosis, to issues with his girlfriend and a singular event that rocks the foundation of his life and those around him. This event is the catalyst for the final act and leads all of the characters into a descent into the pits of human depravity of which none will escape unscathed. It is hard to say anymore beyond this point regarding the plot of Red, White and Blue, as the unraveling of events is too great of an example of the excellent writing and character arcs provided to us by Mr. Rumley.
In closing, Red, White and Blue is a perfect example of how a movie can excel with the correct mix of character driven script and talented actors led by a fearless writer/director who pulls no Hollywood induced punches. All involved do phenomenal work here. Amanda Fuller fully becomes the character Erica (warts and all) and that fact leads and propels Red, White and Blue. Marc Senter is rock solid as Franki and cements himself as a person to watch for in the future. Noah Taylor’s portrayal of Nate is unforgettable and in my mind is easily one of the best in recent memory in any genre. There is a scene near the end of Red, White and Blue involving a family with a young daughter that is unnervingly tense and painful to view even more so due to Noah’s menacing yet calm and collected take on Nate. Having viewed Mr. Rumley’s previous movie The Living And The Dead before hand I knew at the least that I was in for a solid well written and directed movie; what I received was a jolt and also a new writer/director that has my full support from here on out.
This film will disappoint those looking for a general horror tale of a slasher, haunting, or demonic possession. What Red, White and Blue does do is prove that some of the most horrific things possible come not from standard horror concepts, but from the inner thoughts and actions of seemingly normal people once they are faced with decisions and actions that most don’t want to ever face. Don’t pass this one up.