Red Flag Reviews
That's this guy!
He wrote, directed, and starred in his own flick Red Flag and his name is Alex Karpovsky.
In a way, what he's done with this "indie" comedy is what Quentin Tarantino does with his flicks. Blending and mixing, yet creating something of his own. This being clearly inspired by the style and works of Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, and Larry David.
Now that could be a huge turnoff for some. Many people want to see something wholly unique. Wholly original. At least something that hides its influences more subtly. While Red Flag blatantly parades around its influences, you can't help but see, and feel, the personal passion that went into this personal project. And that's what makes its obvious mixed ingredients so forgivable. If you don't like that kind of thing.
Red Flag is about a filmmaker, Alex Karpovsky (himself), as he tours around the South promoting his new film Woodpecker (a film he actually once made). It's initially a bummer trip because just before taking off, his long-time girlfriend, who was supposed to go with him, dumped him. And everybody he called to replace her bailed out. Came up with excuses.
God forbid you have a family to take care of, right? People these days.
Regardless of being alone, he decides to take the trip anyway. I mean, he pretty much has to. It's been booked and money can be made and since he moved out of his ex-girlfriend's place, traveling and making some cash money isn't the worst of ideas. But after one of his screenings, he hooks up with a stranger who digs his work and she ends up stalking him to the next stop. By this point, a buddy of his returned his call and has joined him on his trip. I won't say anything more.
Much of the comedy (not all) in this film has been done to death, and much of its plot points are quite predictable, but the film's heart keeps that from bothering you. Even when you see where it's going, a part of you tenses up because you're anticipating it to happen. You just don't know when. And when it comes ... yeah. Can't help but cringe and laugh.
I also want to point out that I have a difficult time watching writer-directors starring in their own films. I just can't help but see right through their performances. Because most of the time it's self-absorbed. But in Red Flag, I was able to watch Alex Karpovsky's performance objectively and I would forget time to time that he wrote and directed the piece. I think that's because of the personal essence this film has. You know it has to be based on true, if loosely, autobiographical events, and this did not feel self-indulgent at all. It's very personal and possibly used as a coping mechanism of sorts.
Also worth noting, Red Flag is a bit lo-fi and amateur-styled. But as the film progresses and you get caught up in it, you eventually stop noticing. And that's a success.
Why it's called Red Flag, though? I've no idea.
There aren't many characters in this film but the few that are unique enough. We got Alex, playing himself or a sort of himself, as a very neurotic people-pleasing push-over awkward filmmaker guy. We also got Henry(?) played wonderfully, considering, by Onur Tukel. A goofy inspiring children's book writer with a heart of gold and likable personality. These two's chemistry was compelling. Their conversations with one another keep you engaged and wanting more (insert writing praises here).
There's Jessica(?), the emotionally unstable hipster woman who hooks up with Alex and stalks him. She provides an uncomfortable presence effectively and you'll see why if / when you see this flick. And lastly we have Rachel, Alex's ex-girlfriend. She doesn't have much screen time and we don't really know much about her. Neither did the actress so it wasn't the best performance or most interesting character.
I feel like I'm rambling. Which is a good place to stop.
Basically, if you like "indie" flicks (and this is so "indie"), this is for you. If you like the works of Allen, Brooks, and/or David, this is for you. If you just like sweet charming little flicks, this is for you too. For it is a truly sweet, charming little flick. Dat ending.
I'm not sure why, the funniest parts to me is when Alex would ever ask "Why?" or "Why not?". Lemme know if you find it just as funny so I don't possibly feel weird.
Red Flag should be called Green Flag because you should all watch it!
Three mangos out of four.
There was a lot of dry humor and once the story got going the pieces came together. The film did a great job of exposing the relationships between people and highlighting some of the complexities that exist in love.
Alex Karpovsky is a brilliant actor and director and I am looking forward to seeing him for years to come.