Silver Screen Streak List #22:
02. Red Road (2006)
Written by dorrk
Red Road (2006)
Red Road (2006): Reviewed
Director Andrea Arnold won the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize for three of her first four feature films, starting with her 2006 debut, Red Road. It's not hard to see why she's a Cannes darling: her movies — including the strong coming-of-age dramas Fish Tank (2011) and American Honey (2017) — are moody without overbearing pronouncements of style, and her perspective is up-close but quiet, affecting a kind of empathetic cerebralism that patiently positions itself on the turbulent axis between her heroines' thoughts and emotions.
Red Road establishes Arnold's narrative style with almost-shocking confidence. Kate Dickey stars as Jackie, a surveillance officer for Glasgow police, who tracks CCTV feeds for signs of crime in a section of town known as "Red Roads." Her morose, solitary life snaps into sharper focus when she spots on-camera an ex-convict — Clyde Henderson (Tony Curran), on parole for his part in the tragedy that continues to haunt Jackie's daily life. To say that she takes a special interest in Clyde's activities is an understatement, as she quickly eschews remote video feeds for an intimately in-person form of surveillance.
While Red Road calls to mind such varied thematic kin as Rear Window (1954) and The Lives of Others (2006), its naturalistic Dogme95 aesthetic is, at times, uncomfortably immediate, making it most closely resemble the obsessive arthouse grit of Coppola's The Conversation (1974). While I often have an initially negative reaction to the look of digital video productions, Arnold uses it incredibly well and manages to capture some unexpectedly beautiful moments of light and color through clever art direction and seemingly natural framing. Dickey — who has since excelled in Robert Eggers' The Witch (2015) and the TV series Game of Thrones — is an able avatar of traumatized self-repression and a cathartic knife's edge compulsion for the most dangerous forms of closure.
Good movie. Requires a little patience during its slow wind-up, during which the lines between deliberate slow-burn thriller and pointless padding is unhelpfully blurred.
Red Road (2006): Ranked
Kyle Larkin's list, The 28 best films of all time you've probably never seen, continues its positive start, with Red Road (2006) landing at #1640 (71.91%) on my Flickchart, and earning Kyle a second FREE PASS for the next round. Next up from this list: one of the few Rickard Linklater movies I haven't seen, Me and Orson Welles (2008).