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“Red State” by Kevin Smith: Review

HollywoodNews.com: There is something almost heartbreaking about seeing a popular filmmaker finally getting the chance to make his or her passion project, only to watch said film turn out to be an utter wreck and completely irrelevant both to cinema and to the subject matter that it pertains to discuss. Such is Kevin Smith’s Red State.

It is a failure on nearly every level and counter-intuitive to the ideas it seemingly wants to express. Despite a cast of fine actors young and old, the film is a structural mess and resembles nothing less than the kind of bargain-basement direct-to-DVD thrillers that have littered the Netflix queues and Blockbuster shelves over the last ten years. Whether or not this is Kevin Smith’s worst film is beside the point (I have only seen about half of his films). What matters is that Red State was his chance to put all of his cards on the table, to make a grand statement about a subject close to his heart. Yet with a cast of his choosing and apparently no limitations beyond budget, Smith has failed artistically and ideologically.

A token amount of plot: three young men (Kyle Gallner, Michael Angarano, and Nicholas Braun) answer an online ad for a random sexual encounter and make their way to the would-be meet-up house. Once they arrive, they discover that the offer was basically a trap in order to ensnare would-be sexual sinners for denouncement and execution by the local fundamentalist church.

As they try to escape certain death, the chaos attracts the attention of federal agents (led by John Goodman) and a Waco-style stand-off seems imminent. But as the body count rises and those trapped inside the compound begin to panic, just who is on the side of angels in this apparent battle between church and state?

Photo by Lionsgate Home Entertainment

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About Scott Mendelson

Mendelson's Memos: The basics - 30 years old, married with one child, currently residing in Woodland Hills, CA. I am simply a longtime film critic and pundit of sorts, especially in the realm of box office. The main content will be film reviews, trailer reviews, essays, and box office analysis and comparison. I also syndicate myself at The Huffington Post and Open Salon. I will update as often as my schedule allows. Yes, I'm on Facebook/Twitter/LinkIn, so feel free to find me there. All comments are appreciated, just be civil and try to keep a level discourse, as I will make every effort to do the same. Read more at Mendelson's Memos:

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One Comment

  • September 21, 2011 | Permalink |

    Help, I desperately want to find out who performed the song “Just A Closer Walk With Thee,” that is played during the credits, at the end of the movie “Red State?” It is not a traditional version, but is rather a sort of modern quasi hip country version.

    I soooo want this rendition.

    Thank to anyone, that can help.

    James Morris

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