j's Review of Red State
I had been interested in this film since I heard it was being made. It was touted as a departure from Kevin Smith's comedic roots and that alone piqued my interest. Sadly, the final product failed to deliver.
The opening had me interested - a Westboro-like church protesting a funeral and then the three high schoolers get lured into the nearby town by the promise of sex only to be taken hostage by the very church we saw at the beginning. Michael Parks delivers a very good performance but it all revolves around one sermon and from there we don't see that rage, passion or fire & brimstone. He almost disappears into the background.
From there it all devolves into what felt like 20 minutes of John Goodman talking explaining the history of the church and how the ATF, FBI and various government agencies had been pursuing them.
Show don't tell.
It devolves further into a shootout with various bloody kill shots. None of it was interesting or exciting. Just boring and I couldn't wait for the ending which was with a whimper.
Smith has shown that he is a master with dialogue but I believe he was out of his comfort zone here - and maybe this experience will make him realize his mistakes - but ultimately this is a movie to forget.