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This epic film focuses on the life of famed American communist John Reed. The film begins in 1915, when Reed makes the acquaintance of married Portland journalist Louise Bryant. So persuasive is Reed's point of view that Louise kicks over the traces and joins Reed and his fellow radicals.
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Critic Reviews for Reds
Warren Beatty's political epic features superlative performances and speaks to the inner-rebel in each of us.
Vittorio Storaro, who won an Oscar for his cinematography, keeps the long film moving at a healthy pace, mixing static shots with subtle camera movement, never showing off or detracting from the story.
an epic love story ... As a teenager I saw it four times in the theater (which I now find pretty astonishing, considering the movie is well more than three hours long -- I had a lot more free time in 1981!)
Viewed today, it's not so effortlessly impressive, but it's still an uncommonly intelligent and quite entertaining film.
One of the most ambitious Hollywood films of the 80s, Reds is trying to do too much (historical epic, political expose, and romance), but the insertion of interviews with contemporaries of John Reed is original and poignant.
It's tragic that more American filmmakers aren't taking risks like this at a time like this.
A left-leaning pretty boy's distended, black book ramblings.
Marred by historical bluff and jarring cutesiness, 'Reds' is nevertheless the sweeping melodramatic stuff of classic moviemaking.
Were it not for the antique clothing and music, you wouldn't know that the dialogue isn't taking place in the 21st century.
Reds is finally just an appealingly conventional epic movie-star romance with radical trimmings, but it contains several sharper elements that suggest the colorful period it seeks to recreate.
Epic telling of Communism roots via Warren Beatty.
Political drama and sweeping romance in one - only Warren Beatty would, or could, do it.
Hey, hey, I saved the world today. A movie about the burdens that fall on those who take big ideas seriously.
Reds is a richly textured drama that successfully blends history, romance and reminiscenes in its portrait of the poet and romantic revolutionary John Reed.
Not as good as it thinks, but powerful filmmaking all the same
Audience Reviews for Reds
This epic historical political romantic drama biopic proved to be a real labor of love for Warren Beatty, who served as co-writer, producer, director, and star.
Well, in that first sentence, I gave this a heck of a descriptor, so, what's it all about? Well, it's a look at the life and career of John Reed- an American journalist and communist whose relationship with feminist and writer Louise Bryant played out during the Bolshevik Revolution of the 1910s. Reed chronicled said revolution in his book The 10 Days That Shook the World, and has the distinction of, so far, being the only American buried in the Kremlin.
So yeah, what we get here is a lengthy, but fascinating look at Russian Communism, as well as an outsider's role in the midst of one of the most interesting parts of modern history.
I'll admit that, while I'm not a real big fan of politics, I am somehow still mildly interested in and fascinated by socialism and communism. The film looks at the movement both in the U.S, and Russia, and gives it a human edge that was previously not done in prior representations of things.
This film would be quite a major accomplishment if made today. That it was made during the middle of the Cold War is even more impressive. Besides having a straightforward narrative of Reed's life and career, the film contains talking head segments with various friends, acquaintances, scholars, and others who provide more insight into Reed, Bryant, the movement, and the era itself.
Beatty knocks it out of the park in all of his various roles here, and, as a director, this has yet to be topped as his masterpiece. Joining him in the cast are a dynamite Diane Keaton as Bryant, Jack Nicholson as Eugene O'Neill, and the likes of Edward Herrmann, Paul Sorvino, Gene Hackman, Maureen Stapleton, and M.Emmet Walsh among others in various supporting roles of varying lengths.
The acting is solid, the subject matter is quite interesting (I thought), the talking head segments were a wonderful addition, and the cinematography was quite strong as well.
As for downsides: well, it is a really long film, and, while I was pretty glued to the screen for most of it, things did get a little slow and boring here and there, but not enough to wreck things. It's also not the fastest moving piece of work, either, and there's not really much in the way of action, but then again, this does cover a lot of material, so the pacing works for the most part, and there isn't too much of a need for lots of rousing action and whatnot.
All in all, I was quite impressed by this. I can't say I'll be watching this one too often, but I did find myself quite impressed by this, and think it is a really important piece of work that you should consider giving a watch, especially if you get the time.
Reds is an epic political drama, and Beatty's passionate directing and acting are fun to watch. The fact that Beatty was able to make this film in the 80s is equally admirable. But I find the movie too unquestionably devoted to revering the man and his politics. Sure, the film allows a few questions about his character in relationship to his treatment of Louise, but mostly I see Beatty jerking off to the life of Jack Reed, and such devotion always makes me suspicious. The film is so agenda-driven that it makes me understand why some dislike Oliver Stone.More
Warren Beatty wrote, directed and stars in this biopic of John Reed, a journalist who became entrenched in Russia's communist revolution and also helped inspire the founding of the communist party in America. Despite this being Beatty's movie and role, the film seems to focus more on Reed's love interest, Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton). She's an aspiring writer/journalist herself, and she's almost immediately fascinated by Reed's radicalism. Soon, at his behest, she leaves her husband and moves to Greenwich Village. But in the Village, she finds herself isolated amongst the intellectual elite, who show no interest in her opinions. Only writer Eugene O'Neill seems intrigued by her, and his interest seems just as much romantic as anything else. It's a love triangle that falls to pieces under the weight of John Reed's charisma, though. Soon she marries Reed, he starts changing from journalist to activist, fueled by a passionate interest in socialism and revolt. The movie, as a sort of reverse Dr. Zhivago, occasionally shows glimpses of film epic, but more often it's more a ponderously flimsy melodrama. Diane Keaton shows no charm whatsoever, nor does her character display any great intellectual quality, and it's hard to understand just why everyone is supposed to be so attracted to her. Yes, there are a few scenes of human insight, and a few scenes of epic beauty, but I find the subject matter in general to be grating. Reds must've been quite impressive at the time of it's release, but it loses a little bit of stature with the passing of each year (sort of like "Titanic"), and I can't say that's unjustified.More
- Louise Bryant:
- Taxi's waiting, Jack.
- Eugene O'Neill:
- Where's the whiskey?
- John Reed:
- Look, what does a capitalist do? Let me ask you that, Mike. Huh? Tell me. I mean, what does he make, besides money? I don't know what he makes. The workers do all the work, don't they? Well, what if they got organized?
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