I can safely say two thing about Red State: 1.) It’s my favorite Kevin Smith film so far and 2.) this movie is extremely fucked-up. The story follows three teenage boys who answer an online ad from a woman seeking sex. They go to meet the woman only to be drugged and held hostage by a group of extremely righteous Fundamentalists.
The acting is solid, with John Goodman in particular giving a stand-out performance. He packs so many different emotions into his character, and takes charge of every scene he’s in. Melissa Leo is on point as a fanatic member of the church, and really sells her role. Also fantastic is Michael Parks as Abin Cooper, the leader of the Fundamentalists. You can practically feel the hate roiling beneath his skin, and he delivers a compelling performance.
This movie is extremely brutal and violent, and that’s one reason why I loved it so much. This is a component of the film that will turn off a portion of viewers, but I enjoyed that aspect of the film. It’s also not a visually pretty film, and that’s a strength. The color palette and locations are drab and grey, and convey the sense of hopelessness and despair that this compound lends to the community.
Will everyone love Red State? Definitely not. Some people will definitely be offended by the subject matter, and some will be disgusted by the liberal use of violence. If these issues don’t bother you though, this is an original film with the trademark dialogue that Kevin Smith is known for.
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