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Very interesting, most likely the best film I have seen in a couple of months. And I am coming back to the notion that not knowing anything about a film before watching it, just being led into an adventure by way of recommendation (by the BBC, in that case) allows the most thrilling movie experiences. There is very very slow build-up of the story in “Red Road”. At the beginning, you have the visually skillfully captured life inside a CCTV surveillance center, with focussing and panning, living a bit of voyeurism, and a bit of “Blow Up” and “Rear Window”, but with a central character who is not suspicious of the lower atrractions this kind of technical Orwellian wold has to offer. But still she is behaving strange, and we are allowed to build interpretations around this, her following the doings of a man she knows from earlier and whom she would rather see inside a prison than outside a school yard. There are very few elements where we are led into narrative booby-traps or shoved into one interpretation or the other – we are just being shown people behaving in a certain way, and realise (maybe) that we have our own reading of certain behaviour (trained as we are on thrillers, drama, and the real world). This is the particular charme of “Red Road”: it has this very naturalistic touch about it on a technical level (being another spin-off in style from the Dogma movement), but is cinematic enough not to stress absences (artificial light, musical score, costumes), but give us add-ons: the lack of score, in particular, is an element of thriller, it is an intentional artistic element many other films could actually learn from (my favourite dramatic scene without a musical score may be the final of “Alien”, but anyway…). The direction, lightning, camera, sound and editing together compose a very natrualistic setting that, however, lacks the bluntness of all these depressing UK working class films the last 20 years has brought about. You may critizise that the strategy the lead charcter is following is over the top, but it is not, at the end of the day, because she is – we learn – such a torn character that any desperate moment is equally in line with her personality as any regular working day scene.


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  1. […] it could be. Just to note: great British film modern making to me means “This is England” or “Red Road”. “Made  in Dagenham” is not of that class. It is a true follower of “Full Monty” or […]

  2. By Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold 2010) « Cine-Blog on 10 Mar 2011 at 10:54 am

    […] Red Road was set in the gritty suburbs of Glasgow, and if you thought that was bleak, then wait until you see the Essex area where “Fish Tank” plays out. There is so much to see: a desolate family with a single mother, two teenage daughters (the older of which is our film’s heroine, played by the amazing Kate Jarvis), a new boyfriend who is just too gorgeous and great and perfect to be true (no wonder, as he is played by gorgeous and great and perfect Michael Fassbender). There is a permanent disruption of expectations, not just for the viewer, who almost never gets what would be convention to give him next (a man follows a girl through across a field because she has been massively messing with his life, he is chasing her, he reaches her, and then…. ), but also for the characters, who start obvious lines of action, but halfway through realize that something is a better idea before you actually start doing it: Release a horse from captivity? Abduct a child? Real people will realize that it is easy to follow your impulse on this, but not easy at all to go through with it. […]

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