Red Road Reviews

  • Feb 08, 2019

    There are films that start out well where the cinematography is good, the dialogue is good, the actors and the characters are strong and not over done or under done. The milieu is beautifully expressed (it's the rough end of Glasgow) and things are suggested not pushed in your face. And the film continues like this, as little bits of the plot unfold, we are drawn into the main character's life without any over-explicit storytelling or heavy handed flash backs. Yes it keeps on being good on a level for some time. For some time. You begin to suspect that something is up - well you know that something is up but it hasn't yet been revealed. The film has a slow stately pace, an accurate and sharp depiction of the shabby and poor area of Glasgow in which it is set. It's good film- making, skilful storytelling, well directed, realistically and convincingly acted. But you begin to get just a little bit bored, a little bit uninterested (well if you are me you do). You know the plot twist will come in its own good time, and you suspect it will be worthy of the suspense and the acting so far, but you just can't be bothered to wait. There's enough time left for the film to take a few twists and turns, we're just into the middle hour of obfuscation and misdirection before, what, a half hour to tidy it all up and make a story of it with a coherent beginning, middle and end? If I had been in the cinema I think the big picture immersion, the fact of watching with an audience, the sense of being IN a story, not sitting on the couch with partial detachment always on the cards would have kept me watching. Here I can get snacks or tea or drinks easily, hit the pause button so that I don't miss anything - which in fact I did after, the first ten minutes, hit the pause button when I went out of the room because the filming was so atmospheric and interesting and I didn't want to miss anything. I do walk out of films in the cinema too it must be said, sometimes I just can't bear to wait and watch until the whole damn things drags itself to a filmic close, or the film is so bad I just can't bear to watch it anymore. I won't name these films, it just upsets people. So later though, from my sofa based theatre, I just got up to go out the room, to look up the plot in Wikipedia to check whether I would be missing out on anything astounding (I don't think I was). The plot was a little far-fetched maybe, certainly (sort of spoiler here - hope you don't skim read on ahead like I do) miserable and a bit contrived. So I made my wife some fruit tea and started to write this review instead. It has crossed my mind that people will read a little way down this piece, think oh gawd what's he on about, maybe I'll make a cup of tea or click on some Buzznet specials. So it goes.

    There are films that start out well where the cinematography is good, the dialogue is good, the actors and the characters are strong and not over done or under done. The milieu is beautifully expressed (it's the rough end of Glasgow) and things are suggested not pushed in your face. And the film continues like this, as little bits of the plot unfold, we are drawn into the main character's life without any over-explicit storytelling or heavy handed flash backs. Yes it keeps on being good on a level for some time. For some time. You begin to suspect that something is up - well you know that something is up but it hasn't yet been revealed. The film has a slow stately pace, an accurate and sharp depiction of the shabby and poor area of Glasgow in which it is set. It's good film- making, skilful storytelling, well directed, realistically and convincingly acted. But you begin to get just a little bit bored, a little bit uninterested (well if you are me you do). You know the plot twist will come in its own good time, and you suspect it will be worthy of the suspense and the acting so far, but you just can't be bothered to wait. There's enough time left for the film to take a few twists and turns, we're just into the middle hour of obfuscation and misdirection before, what, a half hour to tidy it all up and make a story of it with a coherent beginning, middle and end? If I had been in the cinema I think the big picture immersion, the fact of watching with an audience, the sense of being IN a story, not sitting on the couch with partial detachment always on the cards would have kept me watching. Here I can get snacks or tea or drinks easily, hit the pause button so that I don't miss anything - which in fact I did after, the first ten minutes, hit the pause button when I went out of the room because the filming was so atmospheric and interesting and I didn't want to miss anything. I do walk out of films in the cinema too it must be said, sometimes I just can't bear to wait and watch until the whole damn things drags itself to a filmic close, or the film is so bad I just can't bear to watch it anymore. I won't name these films, it just upsets people. So later though, from my sofa based theatre, I just got up to go out the room, to look up the plot in Wikipedia to check whether I would be missing out on anything astounding (I don't think I was). The plot was a little far-fetched maybe, certainly (sort of spoiler here - hope you don't skim read on ahead like I do) miserable and a bit contrived. So I made my wife some fruit tea and started to write this review instead. It has crossed my mind that people will read a little way down this piece, think oh gawd what's he on about, maybe I'll make a cup of tea or click on some Buzznet specials. So it goes.

  • Sep 05, 2017

    This film is very grim and realistic looking in portrayal of Scottish life. The weak point of this movie is that its strongest part is visuals since the story loses its early mystery quality towards the middle part of the movie when it becomes obvious that the man she is following has done something wrong to Jackie. But in overall it's a good thriller; sometimes it's necessary to solve the problems of the past to go on with your life.

    This film is very grim and realistic looking in portrayal of Scottish life. The weak point of this movie is that its strongest part is visuals since the story loses its early mystery quality towards the middle part of the movie when it becomes obvious that the man she is following has done something wrong to Jackie. But in overall it's a good thriller; sometimes it's necessary to solve the problems of the past to go on with your life.

  • Jun 19, 2017

    What thought might be a grim slice of Ken Loach-style social realism, or even [rec]-style horror, actually turns out be a deeply moving study of grief, loss and regret. Superb film.

    What thought might be a grim slice of Ken Loach-style social realism, or even [rec]-style horror, actually turns out be a deeply moving study of grief, loss and regret. Superb film.

  • May 27, 2016

    A film to think about it

    A film to think about it

  • Doctor S Super Reviewer
    May 29, 2015

    A closed-circuit city monitor spots a man she has an undefined connection with from her past - and that's all we are explicitly told for over an hour as she follows him first by remote camera, and later shadowing him in person. Who is he and why is she obsessed with following him? That's what's supposed to keep us afloat through long stretches of silence and extreme closeups, a tall order for any movie to be really effective, and Red Road eventually sags under its own protraction. Made big waves at 2007 Cannes by claiming the top Jury Prize, I preferred the director's Academy Award-winning live action 2003 short film called Wasp included on the DVD. Andrea Arnold has got an observant eye for working-class lifestyles and the fraying urban societal fabric but her screenplays could use tightening.

    A closed-circuit city monitor spots a man she has an undefined connection with from her past - and that's all we are explicitly told for over an hour as she follows him first by remote camera, and later shadowing him in person. Who is he and why is she obsessed with following him? That's what's supposed to keep us afloat through long stretches of silence and extreme closeups, a tall order for any movie to be really effective, and Red Road eventually sags under its own protraction. Made big waves at 2007 Cannes by claiming the top Jury Prize, I preferred the director's Academy Award-winning live action 2003 short film called Wasp included on the DVD. Andrea Arnold has got an observant eye for working-class lifestyles and the fraying urban societal fabric but her screenplays could use tightening.

  • Jan 05, 2015

    Gritty, ugly but an overall satisfying thriller

    Gritty, ugly but an overall satisfying thriller

  • Oct 28, 2014

    Very slow, but once it gets to the point, pretty good message. Vengeance is useless.

    Very slow, but once it gets to the point, pretty good message. Vengeance is useless.

  • Jun 29, 2014

    Red Road is quite an interesting, and well executed film because it only gradually reveals the plot, the characters, and their motivations as the movie progresses.

    Red Road is quite an interesting, and well executed film because it only gradually reveals the plot, the characters, and their motivations as the movie progresses.

  • May 29, 2014

    Red Road (Andrea Arnold, 2006) On one hand, Red Road—a movie about a woman who becomes obsessed with revenge and goes undercover to deliver some vigilante justice—is a film you've seen a thousand times. On the other hand, while there isn't anything in here you haven't seen before, it's the way in which Andrea Arnold puts all the pieces together that make it feel like it is, at least in part, something you have never seen before. That is the tightrope makers of genre film walk, and Arnold—helped along in her pursuit by some very big names—walks it pretty well. The end result is not perfect by any means, but given a director working on her first feature and having a lot to measure up to, Red Road is better than it has any right to be. Plot: Jackie (Outcast's Kate Dickie) is a security guard whose entire job involves watching CCTV cameras trained on the Red Road housing estate in Glasgow. She is the quintessential character with no life outside her job, and eventually we realize why when she spies a familiar face on one of her cameras. This is someone who should not be where he is at the time he is, and Jackie soon becomes obsessed with getting revenge for a long-ago act that shattered her life. Those names I mentioned? This is the first of a series of three films (the second is Morag McKinnon's 2010 effort Donkeys) proposed by Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier (Antichrist) and featuring characters created by fellow Danes Lone Scherfig (Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself) and Anders Thomas Jensen (The Green Butchers). In America, that's kind of the equivalent of Steven Spielberg calling you up and saying “hey, I've got this collection of characters who were created by Jon Jost and Ricardo Islas, and I want you and two of your buddies to write scripts around them.” How much pressure would you be feeling? Still, while Arnold is building tension, this movie works quite well. It is a quiet thriller, but it is a thriller nonetheless, and there is a great deal to be said for Arnold's script spending time to establish the parallel between Jackie becoming obsessed with her prey and getting less socially awkward around others. Where things fall apart is when the action begins in the third act. Obviously it would be difficult to talk about how things go down without spoiler alerts, but it felt to me like a bait-and-switch. Arnold has set us up to be expecting one kind of movie and we ended up getting another. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is likely to put some viewers off. With me, the jury is still out. I liked it, albeit cautiously, and I would recommend you take a look. Go into it without expectations and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. ** ½

    Red Road (Andrea Arnold, 2006) On one hand, Red Road—a movie about a woman who becomes obsessed with revenge and goes undercover to deliver some vigilante justice—is a film you've seen a thousand times. On the other hand, while there isn't anything in here you haven't seen before, it's the way in which Andrea Arnold puts all the pieces together that make it feel like it is, at least in part, something you have never seen before. That is the tightrope makers of genre film walk, and Arnold—helped along in her pursuit by some very big names—walks it pretty well. The end result is not perfect by any means, but given a director working on her first feature and having a lot to measure up to, Red Road is better than it has any right to be. Plot: Jackie (Outcast's Kate Dickie) is a security guard whose entire job involves watching CCTV cameras trained on the Red Road housing estate in Glasgow. She is the quintessential character with no life outside her job, and eventually we realize why when she spies a familiar face on one of her cameras. This is someone who should not be where he is at the time he is, and Jackie soon becomes obsessed with getting revenge for a long-ago act that shattered her life. Those names I mentioned? This is the first of a series of three films (the second is Morag McKinnon's 2010 effort Donkeys) proposed by Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier (Antichrist) and featuring characters created by fellow Danes Lone Scherfig (Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself) and Anders Thomas Jensen (The Green Butchers). In America, that's kind of the equivalent of Steven Spielberg calling you up and saying “hey, I've got this collection of characters who were created by Jon Jost and Ricardo Islas, and I want you and two of your buddies to write scripts around them.” How much pressure would you be feeling? Still, while Arnold is building tension, this movie works quite well. It is a quiet thriller, but it is a thriller nonetheless, and there is a great deal to be said for Arnold's script spending time to establish the parallel between Jackie becoming obsessed with her prey and getting less socially awkward around others. Where things fall apart is when the action begins in the third act. Obviously it would be difficult to talk about how things go down without spoiler alerts, but it felt to me like a bait-and-switch. Arnold has set us up to be expecting one kind of movie and we ended up getting another. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is likely to put some viewers off. With me, the jury is still out. I liked it, albeit cautiously, and I would recommend you take a look. Go into it without expectations and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. ** ½

  • Mar 08, 2014

    A lot of the subtle, ambiguous tension is squandered in some of the later scenes. But the first two acts are good enough that it didn't completely ruin the experience and it remained a quality film overall. I think my DVD had a problem with its sound though (intense, annoying clipping/compression artefacts that I thought at first were an intentional part of the sound design), so I wouldn't mind re-watching this.

    A lot of the subtle, ambiguous tension is squandered in some of the later scenes. But the first two acts are good enough that it didn't completely ruin the experience and it remained a quality film overall. I think my DVD had a problem with its sound though (intense, annoying clipping/compression artefacts that I thought at first were an intentional part of the sound design), so I wouldn't mind re-watching this.