Film Review: Red

8 Dec

Bit of an oddity this review as it appeared in the Edinburgh Evening News during the 2008 Edinburgh International Film Festival but not on their website. So, although there’s no sign of a UK theatrical release, here’s the review anyway…

Red

Better known for blockbusters (X-Men), thrillers (Manhunter) or for being William Wallace’s uncle in Braveheart, Brian Cox at first seems to be dropping down a gear for this smalltown, US set, thriller. Thankfully looks can be deceiving.

Enjoying retired life with his faithful mutt, Red, by his side, Avery Ludlow (Cox) is interrupted during a fishing trip by two local rich kids and their trailer trash buddy. Instead of stealing Ludlow’s car or cash, hothead Danny McCormack (Noel Fisher) takes out his anger on Red, setting off a domino effect of suffering and revenge.

Veering from accomplished chiller to soapy TV-movie-of-the-week from one scene to the next, Red the film is as much of a mongrel as the titular canine. Cox holds the film together admirably, while Tom Sizemore avoids going OTT in his few scenes as Danny’s “one step removed from rednecks” father.

Of particular note here is Kyle Gallner, giving a nuanced performance as the more emotional Harold. One of the youngest of the cast, he’s every bit the match for Cox’s gruff, elder statesman performance.

Slick, often chilling but with a sentimental side that sometimes cloys, Red is one shaggy dog story that deserves to be let off the leash after the Festival.

Review by Jonathan Melville

Here’s the Red trailer:


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