Film review: Red State
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4/5Kevin Smith’s career has been a little hit-and-miss of late, and so, quite rightly, new offering Red State is beginning to turn heads. Centred around the Five Points Baptist Church, an extreme fundamentalist Christian church who are killing homosexuals and other sinners/fornicators in God’s name on their compound, Red State is an allegory masquerading as a comedy of errors. Its overall message is the ultimate futility of trying to impose your ‘morality’ on others. The whole affair is held together by stand-out performances from Michael Parks as Abin Cooper, the twisted, maniacal preacher on a murder-trip Abin Cooper (based on real life crazy pastor Fred Phelps) and John Goodman as agent in a moral dilemma, Joseph Keenan. These are stand-outs in cast who collectively put in solid and believable performances. Seeing Smith dramatically depart from his usual comedic style – the bright colours and pop culture references are replaced by earthy tones and discussion of morality and scripture - Red State is a daring move from a director who had already found his niche. This is in no way a mainstream movie, but Smith’s films never really have been with his attempts at satisfying the mass-audience resulting in his worst films (Jersey Girl, Cop Out). The spoken word is still the driving point, and the dialogue is excellent as usual. But here Smith treads miles of new ground – big action sequences, horror-style tension and shaky hand-held camera shots.
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