Bellflower - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Bellflower Reviews

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September 28, 2015
It's better to take this film as something made by young filmmakers than as a critically acclaimed sensation. It's more about the vibe, the look, the spirit of a work by young artists. It's not about having everything correct and beautiful.
½ April 24, 2015
A kickass thrill ride of badassery. (aka a MUST SEE FILM!)
August 26, 2014
Great potential, didn't really live up to it. The opening snapshots led me to believe this would be an interesting movie, but after an hour or more I couldn't stand another second of it not really going anywhere.
½ August 22, 2014
Think mumblecore meets Harmony Korine/dogme 95-lite filmmaking techniques with some nice sequences that show promise of a larger picture only to have it all come crashing down in the final 20 minutes or so, especially the final shots which prove what this movie is all about. It's not a bad movie, but the way this story is told infuriates me to no end. It may be a nice movie to watch after a semi life-changing event has occurred in your own life but it's nothing more than navel-gazing on the director/writer/actor Evan Glodell's part...which I guess is the whole point of the mumblecore genre. If only there were more to this story than what it ended up being.
July 25, 2014
Some of the most amazing work in the last forever...
½ July 14, 2014
A raw and explosive burst of creative-storytelling told with tenacity. 'Bell' is a truly rare piece of filmmaking because you'll never see anything else like it. The sound track is the best of the year.
½ June 16, 2011
A very low budget film that has some great things going for it, though it is quite rough around the edges. The plot, though very uneven, starts out pretty straight forward but takes some dark, twisted turns. I am quite interested to see what this director could do with a larger budget.
March 26, 2014
An indy flick with a good story, some great actors and a beautiful cinematography. The story goes a little off the road towards the end but most of the film manages to stay entertaining and avoid the usual clichés. It's an interesting film that deserves a good watch.
March 29, 2014
This film was absolutely fantastic. Dirty camera lenses, blurry and over-saturated scenes, a non-linear plot with text-named segments held together by a loose grip on reality--it's an indie art-house enthusiast's wet dream. Netflix subscribers, get on this while it's up.
Super Reviewer
½ January 4, 2014
Personally, I take Bellflower's message as this: Inner turmoils can be more devastating than any delusional apocalyptic catastrophes.

The unexpectedly powerful two last chapters of this extremely original take about two friends that never face their upcoming adulthood phase through the construction of flamethrowers, mass destruction weapons and an apocalyptic flame-throwing Mad-Max-inspired black car, awaiting for the end of the world to come soon while making an aggressive statement to anybody that may stumble upon them, have been slowly growing on me. It is the last two chapters that kept pushing the rating up with their 20-minute length. They clarify the existentialist statements of the whole film, and I find them deep just as I find them disturbing.

With noticeable screenwriting issues and unprofessional performances that distract the viewer from an effective punch in the face. The whole menacing. apocalyptic tone with its seldom eye-hurting but always effective yellow illumination mirrors Miike's third insallment of his Dead or Alive trilogy, but unlike Miike's failure, gets its tone right and is effective enough to be memorable. It seems that not only regular viewers, but also cinema connoiseurs are having serious trouble "buying" this film, let alone digesting it. I had a different experience. The originality of the film shines and, despite some formulaic moments, comes as completely unpredictable. It throws youthful irrationality to the whole formula instead of being an average comedy/action Hollywood flick with anarchic and "carefree" young rebels that we do not care about, killing people and making sexual jokes along the way. No, here, reality challenges their minds and that's what unleashes disorder in their lives. What a clever move!

November 24, 2013
Evan Glodell brings to life a dark, brooding vision of a mind in the process of unhinging. Bellflower bristles with danger as it explores the spiraling decline of a young man reconciling his fascinated yearning for Apocalypse with the discovery of things worth living for. The resulting drama is uniquely dark and intense . . . well worth the price of admission.

Woodrow and his childhood friend move from Wisconsin to California to start their adult lives. We 're not sure how they make money or what, if anything, they do when they're not building flamethrowers, fantasizing about starting a gang, and wheeling around in muscle cars. But when Woodrow meets and falls for Milly, we glimpse his affability and promise. Here, Bellflower briefly morphs into a well-orchestrated road movie, treating us to a few lighthearted moments. There is a machine art dynamic to the road sequence . . . with the dark origins of the film scrubbing away most traces of humanity such that when we see Woodrow finding love, we feel doubly uplifted. But the warmth is short-lived, as the relationship comes apart, magma seeping from its cracks. Woodrow's mind begins to burn, and with it, everything around him.

Bellflower manages to weave together a narrative that cares about diverse and fundamental concepts -- love, betrayal, primal rage, and vulnerability -- without feeling pretentious or resorting to musical or cinematic shortcuts. It is accessible without being simplistic, and palatable without going down too easy.

It's not without problems. The story is not terribly imaginative, and there are moments when you wish for the characters to get over themselves, get jobs, and basically grow up. But Glodell's skillful and personal delivery is key to offsetting these weaknesses. The result is gritty and captivating.

The film hits its high note when things spin out of control. Woodrow's grip on reality loosens as he struggles to discern his feelings . . . the effect is reminiscent of the 2001 Cameron Crowe piece Vanilla Sky, but in no way as ultimately uplifting. Woodrow responds to his hurt by wishing for more . . . he wants destruction to govern his life the way it has governed his gearhead fantasies. Glodell has a gift here of simmering the story and occasionally letting it boil over without spilling completely. The resulting tension really hooks the audience, even if it's not always clear exactly what is unfolding.

Bellflower is unsettling. It provides us with a clear starting point, but thereafter continually cedes clarity as Woodrow unravels. It will, at times, annoy with its unwillingness to clearly mark what is real and what isn't . . . but it will also grip and fascinate. It's certainly worth the time investment, and will continue to resonate long after the credits roll. This is a hell of a first effort from Evan Glodell, and almost certainly not the last time we will hear from him.
½ August 2, 2013
What a pathetically poor excuse for a movie--bad script, terrible acting and the most immature behavior I've ever seen any characters exhibit. What defies reason is how utterly asinine they all are and that apparently none of them are employed at all. They seem to end up thinking they are in a video game. How stupid can a movie be? The answer for this one is endlessly! That critics loved this shows there is something wrong and sadly lacking in their brains. A film for moronic adolescent school boys who have totally left reality behind in a maze of drug-induced coma.
August 1, 2013
Audacious, low budget and stunningly rendered. Evan Glodell creates a story so intimate it pushes beyond uncomfortable. As one watches this "boy men" deal with the emotions of growing out of their friendship and as one friend dips deeply into a romantic relationship their adolescent games take a turn toward a dark reality.

This is an absorbing and experimental look into the psyche of an immature man's first heartbreak. And, that psyche and subsequent examination is totally apocalyptic in tone and atmosphere. Dark and penetrative - this film packs a might punch. Unforgettable.
½ August 5, 2011
Illuminates a highly-charged part of the modern male psyche and the restlessness of a very specific kind of young adult.
½ December 11, 2011
While the dialogue tends to drag at times and some of the performances are underwhelming, it's the sheer exuberance of this debut -so perfectly matched to its subject matter- that raises it above its indie peers.
½ June 30, 2013
BELLFLOWER is definitely worth a look. This isn't the masterwork declared by so many critics but it is an excellent first film and a true American indie. A type of film that rarely gets theatrical distribution anymore. Evan Glodell (who directs, writes, acts, edits....) is a truly gifted filmmaker who deserves to become a master. The cast, the editing, and especially the cinematography by Joel Hodge, are all quite sublime. You must see BELLFLOWER in theaters to appreciate it's look, tempo, and mood. But please go in expecting a super first film but not a masterwork. Let's all give Glodell the room to grow as a filmmaker and make his masterpiece later.
½ June 21, 2013
Despite a promising introduction, Bellflower is a muddled movie that simply lacks the energy and the boldness of this specific genre.
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.
½ May 25, 2013
If this can get picked up by Sundance, ANYTHING can.
½ May 21, 2013
I didn't fully like "Bellflower", in fact I'm not sure if I even like it all that much. While that may be the case, I do fully respect the film. It's wholly unique. I've never seen this story, let alone seen it made this way. The cinematography is just plain different. The fact that it was shot for $17k makes thinking about the film jaw-dropping.
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