Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Friday, July 19, 2013

My Thoughts on Red State

I love Kevin Smith. I suppose in another post I'll get to why but this isn't that post.

What is the point of this post. Red State.

I really really really like Red State. But it's also a somewhat polarizing movie. The same reasons why I like it are the same reasons why other people hate it and I think that merits discussion, so let's discuss. See the big criticism is with the movie is that it's all over the place and oddly enough yeah it is.

But it is for a reason.


See in one of his Q and A sessions Smith said that he designed to the movie to take a right turn everytime the audience saw where it was going and it does.

The movie starts out as a teen road trip comedy, then turns into a torture porn horror, then turns into a police stand off movie.

In theory, every time the audience is starting to guess the genre and by extension the tropes of the movie they change.  Creating a scenario where in watching the audience never really knows what's going to happen. And my opinion is, judged solely on that criteria the movie works. It does what it is supposed to do, but it also becomes three separate and incomplete movies.

And I can see how that could get on people's nerves. See the movie primarally accomplishes this by shifting the focus to other characters once the fate of the character you're looking at starts becoming apparent. Once it's clear someone's going to die there is no point in following them anymore. But, even if it's a movie you've seen before you want to see the end. Even then you could also argue that that makes Red State a lesser movie than the standard bearers of the genres it's imitating.

I argue however that on a metatexual level this makes the Red State really really interesting, especially upon a first viewing and as an exersise in story telling.

Going back to that Q and A session, Smith said the reason why he designed the movie the way he did was because my generation's audiences are really genre savvy. Most movies are based off of established archetypes and tropes. I'm not saying it's bad but well with not only the thousands of movies out there, we've also been exposed to comics, books, and music videos. We've been inundated with narrative.

The movie tries to use the audiences experience with narrative against them saying, "Stop trying to guess what's going to happen. No. Stop it. Damn it. Now I have to do something else." And even if you get annoyed by it I kind of dig a movie having the balls to do it.

Until the last scene where he cops out.

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