Welcome to The Game Huntress Lair! It’s the time you have been waiting for time to review our first movie! If you’d like to know more about the Movie Club Members please go back to a previous blog post that talks about different things that have been happening. Please leave us feedback and if you ever have a movie suggestion or just wanna share your thoughts tweet me on twitter @Game_Huntress. Without any further a due:
Red State (2011)
Directed by: Kevin Smith
Starring: Michael Parks, John Goodman, Melissa Leo
Rating: Rated R
length: 1 hr 29 Min
Genre: Action-Adventure, Horror
Found on: Netflix
Game Huntress’s Review
Red State starts out with 3 male teenagers, who answer an online ad for woman seeking wild n crazy sex, they thought this was going to be the best night of their lives, instead it ends in disaster when they become kidnapped and taken hostage by a radical church led by Albin Cooper (Parks) called the 5 Point Trinity Church. This group is mentioned to be a bit of gun nuts which becomes apparent very quickly in this film, when a few people try to escape because their fight or flight instincts kick in. Sadly to no avail the situation goes from bad to worse when Special Agent Joseph Keenan (Goodman) is sent to investigate and an all out fire-fight ensues between ATF and the members of the church, and it clearly becomes apparent that this situation wouldn’t come to a close without both sides taking major losses.
I found it severely disturbing, I believe this was what Smith was going for, and its crazy how people like the Cooper Clan could actually exist, such like the Westboro Baptist Church, which Red State is loosely based on.
I give Red State a 7.5.
Red State is a haunting look into what lies behind, radical groups and radical leaders. Kevin Smith took on a very grim subject in directing the 2011 film. While recent events leave most thinking the church group lead by Abin Cooper (Michael Parks) resemble the Westboro Baptist Church; the groups actions and dark secrets left a feeling, for those who can remember, more reminiscent of David Keresh. This church was molded to believe that the media and deviant choices of people, if not handled by anyone else, should be handled by their own hand.
In the beginning, no real protagonist is given. Three harmless teens are using the web to make a sexual conquest. However, upon meeting the woman offering, things take a very grim turn. Soon things become a very twisted and dark visual as they are taken hostage by the Five Points Church, led by Cooper. It becomes a struggle to survive. However once the darkness reveals itself, Special Agent Joseph Keenan (John Goodman) is sent to the scene. This is where the film really begins to build up steam. A simple operation turns into a Branch Davidian-esque type battle filled with its share of shock and gore. Only in a twist does the bloodshed cease and the movie comes to an end.
Kevin Smith really showed with his camera work (short, choppy shots) and his quick dialogue that he was returning to a more simplistic style in filming. This also plays well as the opening sequences are not really important to the rest of the movie, so the watcher is not left to feel the need to focus on this. As tension mounts, the film score and tighter camera shots really build on that. John Goodman and Michael Parks do wonderful jobs as reluctant hero and villain respectively.
In that, this is what really hinders the film from being beyond mediocre. It does leave a feeling of confusion as the opening scenes did not really play later to anything more. The actors that are focused on do excellent, but at times they seemed to be shown bumbling around more than necessary. And also the quick wrap up really does left a lot to be left desired.
Overall, there did seem to be a directing conflict. Kevin Smith was trying to return to basics in film; however after a stellar career, it is hard to not rely on a bigger budget to solidify a movie. Certain quirky filming and a hauntingly excellent choice in subject could have made a superb cult classic. However, a choppy forgettable open and sudden closure leave it as a random find on Netflix. If you aren’t sensitive to the subject matter, I do say give this a go at least one time.
Kevin Smith, can you do no wrong?! Oh well there’s Jersey Girl we’ll forget about that one, because Red State is seriously amazing! He’s really outdone himself with this one. We all know he’s capable of making those cult classic raunchy comedies like Clerks, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, but this movie is way out of left field for him.
A knock out cast only makes this movie that much better. Michael Parks leads with an impeccable performance as an extremist church leader, Abin Cooper. He mixes equal parts crazy and nuts to bring to life one of the most terrifying villains I have ever seen. Travis, Billy Ray, and Randy (played by Michael Angarano, Nicholas Braun, and Ronnie Connel) are perfectly convincing trailer trash teens just out for a good time. Though their stereotypical behavior can take you out of the seriousness of the film by making you giggle, the performances were top-notch. While I would have liked to have seen more of him, John Goodman’s limited screen time was nothing short of flawless.
Don’t let his past work fool you though, this is not a generic Kevin Smith film. Whether you are a fan of his or you hate everything he’s done so far, give Red State a try because I think you will be truly surprised. This movie is smart, mature, and gruesome on so many levels, and the controversy behind its subject makes it that much more intriguing. Short, sweet, and to the point, Red State will shock you and leave you both frightened and disturbed.
ShaunaOH gives this movie a 8/10!
Red State is loosely based on the Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka, KS. In the movie, the Five Points Trinity Church is led by Pastor Abin Cooper. They are tormenting the town because their fundamentalist ideals dictate that the world is doomed because of society’s acceptance of homosexuality and a perceived “absence” of God in the media. They believe that God is not an all-loving being, but rather, an entity that casts out all others unless they specifically believe Five Point’s controversial doctrine.
The significant difference between the real-life Phelps’s in Kansas and Smith’s Five Points Trinity Church is that Five Points are very pro-gun rights and have seemingly amassed an armory under their property. Instead of picketing and suing, like the Phelps’s, Five Points is willing to murder innocent people to further their cause. They are seen murdering a homosexual in the beginning of the movie and even murder a Sheriff’s Deputy because he nearly discovers what they’re doing.
John Goodman who plays Special Agent Joseph Keenan gets wind of some activity at the church and immediately goes to investigate. On the first day they are there, a firefight erupts. He receives orders that he needs to breach the premises and take control. The situation begins to feel like the real-life Branch Davidians and the Waco Siege in 1993. The situation quickly spirals out of control and options become very limited.
The twist in the film comes when loud, trumpet blasts reign throughout the fight. There’s so much chaos and destruction happening, but everyone stops what they’re doing. Five Points drops their weapons because it seems as if the biblical Rapture is happening. They walk outside and Special Agent Keenan and his team arrest the Five Points members. They figure out that the blasts came from a farm over as a retaliatory gesture from college students who’ve been pestered by Pastor Cooper. That single act saved many lives and ensured that most made it out of the skirmish alive.
Red State is one of Kevin Smith’s darker films and really shows what could happen when religious tolerance and gun-rights go unchecked. The parallels between the real-life Westboro Baptist Church and Branch Davidians are apparent and the fantasy that is created becomes very disturbing. The film is very graphic and raw and isn’t for everyone. The idea for the movie came to Smith after some exchange with Westboro Baptist Church’s Megan Phelps. Smith was always willing to invite Phelps and her family to his shows and even extended the church an invitation to a premiere of Red State in Kansas City which they accepted. They didn’t appreciate the loose comparison and did not watch the film to the end. The film is very powerful to those who are both familiar with the Westboro Baptist Church and the Branch Davidian tragedy in Waco. Fans of Smith, who are used to his usual comedic films, may not appreciate Red State and Smith’s twisted view on this subject.Rating 7.0
Hope you enjoyed each of our different takes/review styles on Red State. I picked this one and since Josh was the first one to join the group, has the second pick, so stay tuned for another round of GAME HUNTRESS MOVIE CLUB. Be sure to follow us all on twitter! Me (@geekygamerchick) Shauna (@xShaunaOH) Josh (@O_Mistah_J) and of course Sean (@guy_sean) Until Next time, Keep it Nerdy