• Reds
    1 minutes 15 seconds
    Added: May 9, 2008


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Reds Reviews

Page 1 of 30

Super Reviewer

November 17, 2011
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.
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

August 31, 2013
This was quite a long movie but the story being told got better and better.

Super Reviewer

October 17, 2010
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.
Mr Awesome
Mr Awesome

Super Reviewer

May 2, 2010
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.

Super Reviewer

April 4, 2010
Very grand in scope. In fact, so grand in scope that I lose focus of what it is really trying to say. It is a romance film set against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution of 1917. While there are some great shots and Beatty is very convincing as a passionate radical, Keaton's performance did not have the same finesee.
It felt like Beatty set out to make an epic out of material that was more suitable for a standard film. It is worth a watch, but the 3 and 1/2 hours goes by at a snail's pace.

Super Reviewer

January 14, 2009
Had it been produced today, in this new millennium, this would have been a remarkable film. The fact that it was made in the early '80s, when America and Russia were still very much at odds with each other, makes Reds almost otherworldly.

Circa 1915, the true story of an American journalist who saw the oppression of workers in a capitalist society and dreamed of something better. He, along with his wife and his circle of 'intellectual' friends, at first try to effect change in the U.S. but are later enticed overseas by news of the Bolshevik revolution.

This is not an anti-American film, neither is it pro-Russian. What at first seems like Utopian naiveté is later unraveled and exposed (credit Beatty for not succumbing to the Hollywood elite). What this is, in simple terms, is an intricate docu-drama with an amazing assemblage of creative talent. The cast list reads like an actors who's-who: Beatty, Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Gene Hackman, Paul Sorvino and the incomparable Maureen Stapleton. Wow.

The knock here is that this film is too long. One of the shortfalls of having the writer as the producer/director is the reluctance to make cuts where cuts need to be made. Still, a relatively minor gripe about an otherwise phenomenal film.
Ken S

Super Reviewer

May 5, 2007
Beautifully shot and acted.
Aaron N

Super Reviewer

December 8, 2006
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?

Warren Beatty's epic political drama about the stormy romantic partnership of journalist-revolutionary Jack Reed, played by Beatty, author of Ten Days That Shook the World, and writer-artist Louise Bryant, played by Diane Keaton, set against the backdrop of World War I and the Russian Revolution.

At a little over three hours, Beatty has certainly made his passion project. He had evidently shot 140 hours of film and from that culled it down to a very well made film that features great performances from all involved, namely Beatty, Keaton, and Jack Nicholson. It is also a very beautiful film that certainly gets across its status as an epic.

Its political subject matter certainly doesn't make it the kind of film that would play well with today's audiences in general, but it certainly captures its historical atmosphere as well as provides a very good love story.

Eugene O'Neill: Jack dreams that he can hustle the American working man, who's one dream is that he could be rich enough not to work, into a revolution led by *his* party.

Super Reviewer

November 26, 2008
Warren Beatty produced, directed, cowrote and starred in this $33 million American film masterpiece. This three-hour biography film was ambitious interesting about love partnership of two American journalists Beatty and Diane Keaton made amazing performances. Also features brilliant bits from Jack Nicholson, Gene Hackman, and Maureen Stapleton.

Super Reviewer

June 12, 2007
Powerful story from Beatty and Co.
Tim S

Super Reviewer

July 12, 2007
Before this I thought Warren Beatty was just an old cougar who got young poon.
Byron B

Super Reviewer

May 1, 2007
I liked some of Warren Beatty's performances when he was younger. In his mind he wanted to be as well respected as Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles in the way they became actors and writers and producers and directors to bring their visions to the movie audiences. But in my opinion he's just not that good. I usually really get into epic historical pics, but I had a hard time getting through this one and understanding it all.

Super Reviewer

June 30, 2007
[font=Century Gothic]Directed by Warren Beatty, "Reds" is a handsomely produced and well-acted epic that starts in 1915 in Portland, Oregon where wannabe artist and journalist Louise Bryant(Diane Keaton) meets journalist John Reed(Warren Beatty) who has returned to his hometown to raise funds for the radical magazine, The Masses, that he writes for.(While he has a knack for being in the right place and time, he is also in danger of crossing the line between journalism and activism.) She is yearning for adventure and a way out of stuffy Portland, so returns to Greenwich Village with him, the center of bohemian and radical activity in New York City(Not so much anymore but Provincetown is still jumping...) at the time when anything seems possible, maybe even a workers' revolution. It is also where she meets anarchist Emma Goldman(Maureen Stapleton) and playwright Eugene O'Neill(Jack Nicholson).[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]I had seen "Reds" once before and that was quite possibly 25 years ago when I was in high school. The reason I was curious to see it again(I remembered some of it, certainly more than is normally the case) was having learned so much about the time, places and people(which are captured so well), especially Emma Goldman, that I think I am much better equipped to relate to the movie now and its themes of personal development.[/font]
John B

Super Reviewer

February 20, 2014
Beatty's masterpiece is long but one never seems to resent it. This is a film out of step with the anti-communist rhetoric of the time and is loving in its treatment of an American with a truly alternative point of view at the height of revolution.
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron W. Johnson

Super Reviewer

May 26, 2012
Well, it looks like Mother Russia is about to get a little visit from good ol' Clyde Barrow... or Dick Tracy... or Bug Siegel. It would appear as though Warren Beatty is big on gangsters, or, as we saw with that one time he played a Senator, just overall crooks, so I guess that means that he was bound to play a Commie journalist at some point. Just the journalist part is corrupt enough, and with this film's being so bias, as well as all of those relationship fabrications, Beatty would probably know. I love how he denied up and down that he was hooking up with hot chicks everywhere, yet when it came down to it, the closest thing to a younger babe that he could bag was Annette Bening, which isn't to say that I'm calling her unattractive, I'm just thinking it loudly. Hey, as good looking as Mr. Beatty was, when you're in your 70s and still on the prowl for younger ladies, then you'll probably take whatever you can get. If you ask me, seeing as how he was in Russia, maybe he should have gunned for one of their legendary beautiful women, or at least Diane Keaton, because she, well... at least still looks better than Annette Bening. Well, the man may not have the best taste in women, but he certainly has a good taste in films to make, though also not the best, for although this film is one worth watching, it won't shake the world like the war it's centered around, no matter how much Beatty's bias pretty obviously wants it to.

Even with its mammoth 195 minute runtime, the film feels quite hurried in some spots, often in an effort to expend comfortable story flow for the sake of non-dramatic meditation on certain points. This taints the resonance of the film and brings more to the forefront the liberal overtones, which I find problematic on a personal level, being such a non-liberal, as well as problematic on a filmmaking level, for the overbearing delivery of the message feels discomforting in its bias forcefulness, while momentarily yet considerably harming the dramatic aspects of the film, due Beatty's glaring moments of extreme focus on message, rather than story depth. As I've said, he's certainly done a number on the story's flow, rendering it often hurried, as well as periodically dramatically uneven in focus, and with all of this rushing amidst a should-be epic, Beatty chooses to break even through the occasional piece of repetition and the consistent piece of slowness, exacerbated by a dry aura. All of these flaws of slowness and overwhelmingness in message delivery, as well as rapid-fire political mumbo-jumbo and such storytelling stylistic choices as the many interview breaks, all assemble into a single attribute that taints this film more than anything: High class pretension. I don't know if you get used to it after a while or if Beatty eventually wears himself out, but eitherway, the pretension isn't eternal, though there's no denying that for long periods, the film feels just so cocky and self-important, thus worsening the aforementioned missteps and leaving the film to run the risk of collapsing under the weight of its own ambition. Luckily, this film has quite the right to be so cocky about its quality, as it is still of some reasonably high quality. True, that quality goes betrayed by the film's overambition and shoddy storytelling, as well as not quite enough sweep to deliver consistently on its being an epic, yet there's still so much that bleeds through, and just thoroughly enough for the film to transcend dissatisfaction and come out as mostly winning from a general standpoint, while wholey winning from a stylistic standpoint.

Vittorio Storaro's cinematography is nothing if not captivating, giving the film a handsome depth in color to help in securing the film's gritty yet sophisticated tone when it's not simply stopping you cold with beautifully glowing, sweeping shots, many of which wouldn't be as effective as there are, were it not for the fine taste in location, production and all around art direction. As for such storytelling stylistic choices as the interviews, as I said, they slow down the film's dramatic aspects and plague it with a very matter-of-fact tone that supplements the film's self-righteousness, yet they still remain somewhat beneficial to the film, giving it character and some intrigue, whereas if the film went without it, it would perhaps suffer more than benefit, because where the faultiness of these storytelling stylistic choices are merely supplementary to already existing problems, their presence is a key factor in the film's intrigue. For that and a deal of other key positive aspects to the film, I feel as though credit is due to Warren Beatty, as director, who may be inspired to the point of being cocky and a tad overbearing in his messages, yet it's that inspiration that also keeps the film down to the earth and with enough resonance to sustain your attention as the film carries you through such fascinating subject matter, told through a mostly intriguing atmosphere. It's Warren Beatty, as an actor, who secures that intrigue, yet doesn't do it alone. Jack Nicholson comes and goes, yet every scene with him is predictably note-worthy, as he steals the show with his usual snakish charisma and moderate mystery, while other supporting performers add further texture to the film and its themes. Still, it's our leads that do the most for the film, whether it be the strong yet vulnerable and all around enthrallingly soulful Diane Keaton or the charismatic Beatty, whose graceful portrayal of Jack Reed's transformation from a relatively grounded yet sophisticated ambitious to a strong force of leadership, tainted by flawed political views, is an experience worth having. The film stands to have more sweep and consistency, both in story and intrigue, yet where it could have collapsed under the weigths of its faults, the film mostly uses some of these very problematic aspects to a generally commendable effect that supports the compellingness more than it harms it, rendering the film improvable yet very watchable.

All in all, some problematic storytelling stylistic choices and many a fault within the uneven, sometimes repetitious and often slow story structure, as well as overly palpable liberal overtones, taint the film with pretention and damage its overall effectiveness, yet that effectiveness remains intact, held together by a riveting visual style and mostly texturing storytelling techniques, sewn mostly comfortably together by inspired direction from Warren Beatty, who also joins Diane Keaton and a myriad of other acting talents in delivering compelling onscreen performances that play key roles in ultimately making "Reds" a generally fascinating and compelling portrait on the Russian Revolution, as seen through the eyes of a primary player.

3/5 - Good
Alec B

Super Reviewer

September 1, 2007
The scope of the film is impressive, not only does it cover a rather complex period in history but it also examines the way radical ideology can move from activism to revolution and then completely fall apart. Weaving in interviews with people who actually knew Reed and others in the American Communist Party into the narrative was a stroke of genius.
Stephen E

Super Reviewer

September 27, 2012
Even though it has a very epic 3 hour plus running time, "Reds" is quite personal and doesn't feel as 'big' as other epics do, which is a pretty rare quality for a film to have. The only problem is that where other epics (i.e. "Patton" and "Gandhi") go by reasonably fast, "Reds" doesn't. It feels longer than it actually is, and that's definitely not a good trait when it's almost two hundred minutes long. That being said, it's directed with as much cohesion and detail as a director with this source material can possibly do and the actors all doing their very best, with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson having terrific performances. I doubt that many will be extremely interested by what "Reds" has to offer, but I found it insightful and well-made, and I applaud Warren Beatty's courage to tackle such a large-scale project.
Critique Threatt
Critique Threatt

Super Reviewer

May 25, 2011
Starts out great but then begins to wither down when the politics come into play. The politics doesn't even matter in this picture what matters is the romantic relationship between Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton. Jack Nicholson and Maureen Stapleton put in fine performances. Reds is an updated version of Doctor Zhivago but a little better.
Over the Rising Sun
Over the Rising Sun

Super Reviewer

June 20, 2010
This lengthy biopic of Communist journalist/playboy Jack Reed is visually outstanding, with a flawless cast, and a directorial win for Warren Beatty. 100/100
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