Bellflower - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Bellflower Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 3, 2011
I'm gonna do something I never do: completely use someone else's brief plot synopsis to describe things. Here it is, courtesy of the film's official site: Bellflower follows two friends as they venture out into the world to begin their adult lives. Literally all their free time is spent building flame-throwers and weapons of mass destruction in hopes that a global apocalypse will occur and clear the runway for their imaginary gang "Mother Medusa". While waiting for the world to end, their call to excitement comes unexpectedly when one of them meets a charismatic young woman and falls hard in love. Quickly integrated into a new group of friends, they set off on a journey of betrayal, love, hate, infidelity and extreme violence more devastating and fiery than any of their apocalyptic fantasies.

The film was made by Oscilloscope Laboratories, and this is the fifth film of theirs I've seen. I've yet to be disappointed by them. This is a real labor of love, and it shows. Evan Glodell not only wrote, directed, and stars, but he also designed and built the camera that was used, as well as the car and the flame thrower, both of which were totally functional.

What we essentially get is a kitchen sink melodrama done as an edgy indie with apocalyptic tones. I liked that. It's not an uplifting film, but if you want something that's dark, gritty, and unique, then this is a film for you.

The cinematography and editing are pretty good, there's an intense mood and atmosphere, and even a subtle bit of humor. I applaud the actors greatly, especially Jessie Wiseman who isn't a typical studio film beauty, despite the fact that she is gorgeous.

The broad plot isn't the most original, but it's done in a neat way, so I can forgive it. If you want to see something a little out there, then look this one up.
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2013
Oozing rage and anger, this microscopic sample for study involves the life/non-life of some twenty something Americans, bored with having it all, bored with all the answers being answered, bored with drugged stupors, and mad about it big time. And then ... his girl cheats on him. Well, not really. She cheated on her boyfriend when she went out with him, so ... anyhow, the gestalt of pre-apocalyptic America ("we want the apocalypse! bring it! is that all that you got!!!") perfectly summed up, and the first time I saw anyone admit that Rome herself willed the fall of the empire.
Super Reviewer
April 13, 2011
"What an odd film this was. I didn't know what it was about when I started it. Just wanted to watch a movie that would help me fall asleep. I didn't succeed in doing that with this film. I had no idea what it was suppose to be about and yet I couldn't stop watching it. It's raunchy, quirky, sweet, insane, and oringinal. I really liked Woodrow and Aidan's relationship. I thought it was a sweet friendship that you usually don't see on screen with two guys. Honestly, I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about the film. It's not going to be a film for everyone. Not everyone is going to like the way the movie is filmed either. It took me minute to get use the way Glodell filmed it. I thought for awhile that I had crap on my screen. Nope. Just the director trying to be different. Which actually kinda worked for this off-beat film. It's a Indie film worth taking a look at if you get the chance."
paul o.
Super Reviewer
July 19, 2012
A incendiary film that brings out a lot for a debut. The cinematography is the first thing that catches your eye. With a dirty and gritty look into the world of Bellflower, you understand the extremes some of the characters go through for love. The acting wasnt great but you can forgive a movie like this with its awesome flamethrower scenes and Mother Medusa.
Super Reviewer
April 18, 2012
Bellflower is not so much a continuous story as it is a blurred study of young adults sensitivity and rage set against the end of the world. Evan Glodell who is the writer/director/star of Bellflower is definitely someone to watch. Bellflower being his debut for which he built the Medussa (the wicked car in the film), the flamethrowers, and the cameras used to film it. There is a real over-saturation of colours (especially reds and yellows) that I found really cool. It makes the atmosphere look really hot like a desert which for me reflected the characters feelings. The acting was quite good, especially from Jessie Wiseman and Evan Glodell. Overall, Bellflower is not as much an exciting debut, and it is a really promising debut, but it's an interesting study of how young adults minds work, and their rage.
Super Reviewer
March 22, 2011
Bellflower is a difficult movie to review, as well as describe. It's all over the place as far as theme goes. Part love story, part...well, something else. I really enjoyed it at times, but found myself was completely puzzled by it as well. Especially in the latter half. Bellflower gets points for originality, but I feel like it would have been better if it wasn't quite so...ambitious.
Super Reviewer
½ January 22, 2012
Anyone familiar with Bellflower's origins will surely want to root for the film. I met writer/director/star Evan Glodell at TIFF and is gregarious personality made me want to champion this film even more. I just can't. He makes the same mistake that a lot of first time filmmakers do: he doesn't trust his story to sustain itself. The pointless subplots involving the car and the flame thrower really betray the heart of this story, which is the aftermath of a breakup and its many emotional stages. Bellflower tries its best to honor the mumblecore moment, but I couldn't help but think it was a generally poor attempt to make art that is as futile as Dogme 95 but in its own downscaled manner. Couple that with an oddly violent, tonally underdeveloped third act that made me shake my head wondering "why?" as the wind was taken right out of its sails. Glodell may be a director worth keeping an eye on, but Bellflower ultimately implodes under its own self-awareness -- which is shame, because it really is a movie you want to like.
Super Reviewer
½ August 3, 2011
After warming up to the unique style and gritty lo-fi visuals of director/star Evan Glodell's debut feature "Bellflower," I started really liking it's characters and believing in them and their relationships. With Glodell's giddy cinematic creativity and a handful of surprisingly strong performances I was sold... or at least I WAS for the initial half of the picture.

After the arrival of a certain key plot development (out of the blue) that sends the film down a dark and increasingly frustrating spiral, the characters we have gotten to know have disappeared and start acting out in a manner foreign to their personalities! In the film's favor, there's a bleak tonal shift and intensity attributed to not knowing where the narrative will venture next, and it works... but even that dissipates as the film sort of stalls after an extended sequence that's rendered useless in it's conclusion.

By the end of the picture I was at a crossroads. I liked so much of the film (it's initial half and performances specifically: the standout being Glodell himself)... but at it's full length it just didn't feel cohesive and certainly didn't do it's characters and bold filmmaking justice.

Upon looking back at "Bellflower," the sudden and violent shift of it's later scenes became even harder to swallow.
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2012
This is what Independent movies are suppose to be. This movie really, especially the ending, makes no sense at all. But, it's interesting, entertaining, and there's a real sense of danger throughout. You never know what is going to happen next, and when it's over, your left going "um wtf happened here?" I'll try to sum up the movie, but really, you gotta watch it for yourself cause it'll sound crazy in how I word it. It's about two friends(Woodrow and Aiden) who are obsessed with making a flame thrower and a post apocalyptic car. They loved "Mad Max" when they were little, and wanted to get ready in case the world went to shit. Well along they way Woodrow meets and falls in love with Milly, a free spirited girl. They have great chemistry until he catches her cheating on him, and then from there the movie gets weird, crazy, and violent. The movie is filled with unknown actors and was made for less than $500,000. Just goes to show you don't need millions of dollars to make original and entertaining movies. "Bellflower" isn't for everyone. It can be confusing, and has some pretty violent scenes. But, there's really no other movies out there like it. Give the typical Hollywood blockbusters a break and check this out. May make you expand your movie horizons on what you watch.
Super Reviewer
December 14, 2011
Vapid, unoriginal, and extremely amateur, Bellflower occasionally reaches THE ROOM levels of ludicrous awfulness, sans the Wisseau charm.
Super Reviewer
½ December 11, 2011
Evan Glodell's Bellflower is a bit of misconception when it comes to the action. As far as the drama and romance go, Bellflower suits that better.Conceptually, the two lead characters that start things off give the film something to look forward to; however, things tend to go south rather quickly. Nearly an hour goes by heavily built on drama and a lack of anything really eventful, even with the multiple time jumps used throughout the storytelling. With that said, it all builds up to a twisted 30 minute finale.The violence is light. Not exactly in the realm of explosive action, despite a muscle car and a flamethrower, which are a big part of the lead character's plot. Everything is more along the lines of mildly thrilling.Evan Glodell hangs in the background in the early going, as he is out shined by the likes of Tyler Dawson, whom is one of those that takes some getting used to. Jessie Wiseman and Rebekah Brandes are the females of the bunch that are thrown into the mix.Bellflower is a low budget movie that has a few things going for it. Just not enough for an entire 100 minutes.
Super Reviewer
June 17, 2011
It's about time I actually go back and write a review for this film. I saw it in October and immediately gave it 5 stars without question. Because if Evan Glodell continues his career from here, we are looking at a top notch talent in the near future. Bellflower is beautifully shot and features some great performances (and this isn't even considering that the it was shot on a budget that would make a 1950s Roger Corman movie look like it had received an "Avatar" sized budget). Word of warning though: The film gets very dark and depressing by the second half. It also goes down Insanity lane at the exact same time (which I loved, but might put others off). For me, this is the second best film I saw in theaters all year (number one goes to "The Muppets"). It's out on Blu-Ray and DVD now. SO PLEASE SUPPORT EVAN GLODELL, This guy has a LOT of potential.
Super Reviewer
November 26, 2011
"A love story with apocalyptic stakes."

Two friends spend all their free time building flame-throwers and weapons of mass destruction in hopes that a global apocalypse will occur and clear the runway for their imaginary gang "Mother Medusa".

When David Fincher was preparing to shoot Fight Club, he briefly considered dispensing with stars and a big budget to shoot the film guerrilla style on digital video. Had he gone that route, the results would have been something along the lines of Bellflower, an audacious, flame- spewing, spit in the face of everything stale and conventional about modern cinema. Shot on a nothing budget using a camera that director/writer/star Evan Glodell built from odds and ends, Bellflower is a stark critique of characters lost and struggling in the sun soaked wastelands of Southern California.

To go into detail would certainly ruin the joy of discovery this brutal movie has to offer. Suffice to say it is a love story like no other, chock full of drunken brawls, flame- throwers, and a muscle car named Medusa (also built from scratch by Glodell). Personally, I think this is one of the most important movies that's come out in recent memory. With a raw, ugly beauty reminiscent of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the sparse immediacy of films like Two Lane Blacktop, and David Lynch's ability to make the banal nightmarish and horrifying, Bellflower incinerates the very notion of narrative filmmaking, redefining it on its own terms. If indie filmmaking is meant to push the envelope, this movie leaves that envelope charred and twisting in the wind.
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2011
Emotional, hallucinatory, hand-made and awesome. Can't wait to see what Glodell does next.
Super Reviewer
½ November 12, 2011
It is almost inscrutable to describe the surreal, existential turn 'Bellflowers' negotiates in the last 20 minutes but it is never less than awe-inspiring and innovative. Filmed on his own makeshift digital cameras, Glodell has notarized quite the debut for himself which correlates a heart-shriveling breakup to the impending apocalypse. Like Chuck Palahniuk, Glodell dissects the male id and recognizes that men are attracted to tomboyish women with an adventurous streak and can appreciate their virile pet projects like a portable flamethrower. To call the protagonists abrasive and off-putting is a disservice to the ultrarealistic vibe of the dialogue and the plausible Peter Pan syndrome of these slackers. 'Bellflower' is equal parts perplexing and gripping, but it is the best mumblecore feature of the year.
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2011
Two jobless, hard-drinking college-age kids struggle with relationships while they spend their free time building flamethrowers and post-apocalyptic cars out of their favorite film, MAD MAX. They should be delusional nerds, but in fact they're awesome ladykillers. Seriously, dude? Don't let the MAD MAX connection fool you in; this is mumblecore at its most relentless.
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
½ August 13, 2011
"Bellflower" is a tense indie drama about a group of aimless twentysomethings filmed in a thrillingly original and heartfelt way. First-time writer/ director Evan Glodell (who also plays the lead character) has overnight catapulted himself to the big leagues.

This doesn't mean the film is perfect. It does have some substantial weaknesses. After a while, the tension in the story starts to seem fabricated. Rather than organically emerging out of the characters' lives, it seems at times to be phony, more of a plot device than anything else.

But Glodell gets very close to a major artistic achievement here. For one's first film to be this good, that's a sign that one is immensely talented. I am thrilled at the idea of watching Glodell grow as a filmmaker in the decade ahead.

I'm equally excited about the future of cinematographer Joel Hodge. Over and over, the photography in "Bellflower" took my breath away. Hodge is a genius with the camera.

A big thank you to the distributor Oscilloscope for giving this unique gem a chance to be seen by audiences. What would we do without companies like Oscilloscope?
Super Reviewer
April 6, 2013
By day, Woodrow(Evan Glodell, who also directed, co-wrote and co-edited) and Aiden(Tyler Dawson) like to audition for "Jackass" by playing around with destructive toys in southern California.(Children do not do this at home.) By night, they go to a bar where Woodrow competes against Milly(Jessie Wiseman) in a cricket eating contest.(By the way, don't do this either.) After they have a few beers to wash down the crunchy insects, Woodrow asks Milly out to a date but she wants to go someplace cheap. So, he suggests this place in Texas that serves day old meatloaf to which she agrees.

"Bellflower" readily disproves the old romantic axiom to find a woman who will eat crickets, and love will follow. It does for a while but as shown in the prologue, problems arise. At least, Milly warned Woodrow. But even early on, he shows a propensity for violence, as neither he nor Aiden are the kind of sensitive new age guys who don't know who play in the Seattle Kingdome. And as a filmmaker, Evan Glodell is smarter than to glorify their antics. He also succeeds in getting their apocalyptic fantasies right but not in the details of the reality, like what they do for money or even what year this is supposed to be, with its outdated cultural references and technology. And then there is the distressing reinforcement of the stereotype that all male geeks hate women.
Super Reviewer
½ November 18, 2011
Here's a debut from a director sparking with talent. The movie is written, directed and stars all the same guy, Evan Glodell. It's a movie about a guy named Woodrow who builds a flamethrower with his friend. He soon meets a girl named Milly and things get pretty good for him. Eventually, something really bad happens. Then only a few seconds later, something even worse happens. The tone of the movie changes from happy and adventurous to depressing and daring. Everything about Bellflower seems so natural. The acting is natural. The dialogue couldn't be any less tacked on if it tried. Characters are often changing tones without realizing it and cursing when the time is right. In fact, some of the dialogue is so realistic it's laugh-out-loud funny. Glodell uses a seemingly cheap but effective camera in which he puts a filter on it making it appear dirty and old. These elements of realism and cinematography make Bellflower an original and revolutionary movie. Calling this film an "end of the world" movie is a harshly intriguing notion, as the world does not literally end, but it ends for the character, in a manner of speaking. The setting is familiar but new. It takes place in Los Angeles. But this is a side of Los Angeles we rarely see in movies, the poorer side of town. The message that the film seems to convey at the end is great. It shows how far your imagination can go when you're in a state of desperation. While this was great, the movie seemed to be leading to an epic finale that quite literally didn't happen. Woodrow imagines himself doing all this crazy stuff and then it reveals he never did it. I don't think Glodell intended it to be anti-climatic, but unfortunately, it was. If it weren't for this Bellflower would earn a very easy and well deserved 5/5.
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