Red (2008) (tbc)

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Review byMatthew Turner27/06/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 94 mins

Gripping smalltown thriller, with a strong script, superb direction and a terrific central performance from Brian Cox. Fully deserves its place in the Best of the Fest line-up.

What's it all about?
Based on a novel by Jack Ketchum, Red stars Brian Cox as semi-retired store owner Avery Ludlow, who seeks justice against three local teens when one of them (Noel Fisher from "The Riches" as Danny) kills his dog, Red, for no reason. Unfortunately it turns out that Danny's father (a slimmed-down Tom Sizemore, still playing bastards) is local bigwig Michael McCormack, so justice looks unlikely. However, things quickly get out of hand after a local TV reporter (Kim Dickens) does a news story on Avery, angering McCormack and kicking off a full-scale feud. And things get infintely worse when Avery eventually decides to take matters into his own hands.

The Good
Brian Cox is superb as Avery - he's not as angry here as he often is in other films, which makes for some interesting slow-burning tension. Sizemore, of course, is one of the screen's all-time great bastards and he's as good as you'd expect, but there's also strong work from Kim Dickens (who deserves a much bigger career after sterling work in Lost and Deadwood), Noel Fisher and Kyle Gallner as Sizemore's more sensitive son.

The script is excellent and co-directors Trygve Allister Diesen and Lucky McKee allow events to unfold at a believable speed, which creates an atmosphere of creeping dread throughout. They also make some interesting directorial decisions (particularly during a shoot-out scene) that ensures that this feels very different to other smalltown revenge thrillers.

The Great
That said, you might want to avoid this if you're a dog-lover – aside from Red's early demise (thankfully off-camera), there's a particularly nasty scene later on, which, although crucial to the plot, is still a little hard to stomach.

Worth seeing?
In short, Red is a gripping and thoroughly enjoyable thriller with a superb cast and an excellent script. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 26/02/2020 11:23

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