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Home Reviews Cinema reviews Review: Red State
Review: Red State Print E-mail
Written by Selina Pearson   
Friday, 30 September 2011 06:25
Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Michael Parks, Melissa Leo, John Goodman
Certificate: 18

Red State screams “Patriot Act, b*tches”. Not a line you’d expect to from a man-child better known for his slacker comedies, but Kevin Smith pitches religious fanaticism against gun-toting post-9/11 US feds in this cynical exploitation film. And it mostly works.

Three teenage boys are lured by promises of sex with older woman Sarah (Leo) to the compound of the ultra-conservative Five Points Church. A sect that neo-Nazis and the Westboro church have distanced themselves from, the Five Points have taken brutal measures in their crusade against homosexuals and fornicators.

This thought-provoking piece of brutal indie cinema is ably directed by Smith, and his cast are up to the task too. Michael Peaks is disconcerting as the charismatic and deranged head of the church, Abin Cooper. John Goodman easily handles his role as an ATF agent, injecting some snippets of humour to proceedings, while the younger members of the group acquit themselves well, earning our sympathy and disgust when required: no easy feat.

At times, Red State threatens to lurch into Eli Roth-torture porn territory, but to its credit, it never does. The body count may be high, but the brutality is reined in to just a couple of mass shootings. Amidst the blood, Smith is attempting to make political points aimed most blatantly at right-wing church conservatism and Patriot Act-wielding politicos. It's a movie that's ranty, angry and full of bile, which will divide audiences. Yes, Smith’s preaching is occasionally off-putting and tiresome, but the blessedly short 90-minute runtime makes Red State easy to forgive.


A film designed to provoke a response, Red State is a brutal thesis on church and state that screams for your attention.



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