Tuesday, March 25, 2008

RED ROAD review

Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, the feature length debut by Brit writer/director Andrea Arnold is a dark, riveting, and awkwardly sensual tale of an employee of a private security firm that monitors the cctv cameras in a rough neighbourhood of North Glasgow. In a fantastic performance by Kate Dickie, Jackie lives a solitary existance, watching the everyday dramas of life around her through the security cameras, except for the occasion unfulfilling shag with a married co-worker in his car. One day she spots Clyde (Tony Curran), an ex-con who she becomes obsessed with for reasons we don't discover for most of the film. The only other piece of information we're given is that she has lost her husband and child in unrevealed circumstances.

RED ROAD is supposedly the first in a trilogy of films under the ADVANCE PARTY concept. The concept came out of a discussion with Lars Van Trier and the executive producers Lone Scherfig and Anders Thomas Jensen. Each film would be made by a first time director and producers, using a set list of characters and back stories which the directors could then write their story around. The same actors would be cast for all three films. The focus on which particular characters would be up to the individual director, but all the films would have to take place in Scotland.

As we watch Jackie's obsession with Clyde grow into a dangerous yet sexualized place her motives come into question despite the obvious pain that she's in, and you find your loyalties shifting right up until the reveal of their past connection.

Despite the ending, which compared to all that has come before might seem a bit trite, RED ROAD is a great tragic story told with a deft and rawness than is rarely found in a mainstream/studio picture. Apparently the second film is in 'development limbo', but I'd be very curious to see where this material goes from here.

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