In a word: Unbelievable!
E. Barrios | N.Y.C. | 09/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can't comment on the DVD because I only saw the screener for this movie but that makes no difference, except if I wanted to judge the quality of the transfer in terms of video and audio fidelity.
Red made official selection for the Sundance Film Festival and deservedly so. Director Lucky McKee's telling of a man seeking justice for the murder of his dog is emotionally gripping yet ultimately satisfying in a Death Wish sort of way. The film works in terms of its directing and acting, which made me feel it's the best independent movie I've seen in a long time and possibly the best movie of 2008--period!
Robert Englund's performance, though short, was dead on. I think he's really come far as an actor. I found his portrayal of an unemployed carpenter, who happens to be the father of one of the three teens who shot Ludlow's dog, to be very convincing. He's matured as an actor and should do more roles outside of horror.
Tom Sizemore does a good job playing the evil father of the boy who shot the dog. He's your typical hunter-businessman who beats his wife and rules his household with authority. In other words, his morality is always at an all-time low.
Brian Cox, of course, stole the show with his role as the owner of Red. As a viewer, I felt convinced that he really lost his dog. In fact, so much so, that it got to the point where I wanted to jump into the television screen and help him get those suckers.
I will definitely own the DVD when it comes out. I can't imagine not adding this to my collection.
If you own a dog and think of it as being more than just a dog, perhaps more like a member of your family, you'll find this a difficult watch but bearable.
Those who are for animal rights in all forms will definitely find that your quota of vengeance will have been filled after seeing this poignant film."
This Great Film Might Make You See Red...or Leave You Feelin
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 11/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though many may argue the point, best-selling author Jack Ketchum (nom de plume of Dallas Mayr) is a writer of frightening horror novels. However, unlike high-profile genre authors like Stephen King, Peter Straub, Clive Barker, and Dean Koontz, Ketchum only occasionally writes about horrors that arise from fictional supernatural realms. More often than not, his novels focus on the horrors that arise from within the ranks of the human race, and the "monsters" in his novels, which are sometimes inspired by real people and actual events, can be the babysitter next door, privileged kids from a wealthy family, or an ex-girlfriend. After reading a Ketchum novel, one often comes away feeling as if there's some truth to the old adage that we humans are our own worst enemies.
The 2008 indie film RED, based on the Ketchum novel of the same name, tells the story of how Avery Ludlow, a small-town shopkeeper, seeks justice after a trio of rich kids shoot his beloved dog out of spite during an attempted robbery. Getting nowhere with the police, the boys' parents, or the media, Ludlow takes matters into his own hands and tries to extract a simple apology from the boys. Being people of privilege, the boys and the wealthy, influential father of two of them react as if they are above the law--which, in effect, they are--and instead of offering an apology, they do things that only compound the transgressions against Ludlow...with ultimately fatal consequences.
Although RED was co-directed by Lucky McKee, who is better known for his horror movies, the film treats the subject with much more realism and sensitivity than is found in the average horror fare. This is partly due to the excellent performances that McKee and his co-director, Trygve Allister Diesen, draw from their experienced cast. In the role of Ludlow, oft under-appreciated actor Brian Cox--who won accolades for playing audience favorite Dr. Hannibal Lecktor [sic] in Michael Mann's MANHUNTER (1986) long before Anthony Hopkins assumed the role in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)--creates a complex, multi-layered character who simply wants his transgressors to understand the depth and repercussions of their senseless act. Playing Danny, the sociopathic leader of the privileged delinquents, Noel Fisher is truly frightening. And in supporting roles that cast them against their usual horror-show types, actors Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger in the A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series) and Amanda Plummer (star of numerous horror and SF movies, among other things) are quite convincing as the incredulous but befuddled parents of one of the boys.
Another thing that raises RED above the standard revenge movie is the fact that, at the film's denouement, Avery Ludlow comes to question the ultimate value and morality of his own actions. Although the boys are clearly wrong in their transgressions against Ludlow and deserve to be punished, and in spite of the fact that Ludlow is undoubtedly entitled to some level of legal recompense, Ludlow nonetheless feels responsible for the fatalities that result from his seeking of justice. His self-doubt brings into question the nature of justice and whether or not genuine justice indeed exists, and the events of the film that lead Ludlow to his moment of doubt tend to emphasize the widening class and generational schisms in the U.S. and how legal justice is often applied differently based on certain demographics.
The DVD edition of RED presents the film in anamorphic widescreen, and the digital transfer is beautiful (which shouldn't be surprising, since the film itself was shot in HD digital video). The disc is short on extras, offering only a brief but interesting interview with star Brian Cox and a few deleted scenes. Still, RED is an intense, engaging film that contains some outstanding performances, and that alone makes the DVD worth amazon.com's price of admission."
Clinton Enlow | Kansas | 11/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've read only two Jack Ketchum novels, the writer on who's book this film was adapted. Both were the Off novels which read like The Hills Have Eyes with brutality and suspense handed out in something that plays like a really good explotaiton horror piece. Ketchum's work has started being adapted a lot with the Off series next after this film, The Lost and The Girl Next Door. From Ketchum's work I'll admit that I never expected something like this though as its not a lurid piece and I found it a rather interesting spin on the idea of the revenge thriller.
Bear in mind that this film is not an Oldboy or Man on Fire. It begins with the main character Avery Ludlow being confronted by the three youths, Danny and Harold and their friend Pete. Danny a bully with a gun wanting to shoot something taunts Avery before shooting Red, Ludlows old dog. Ludlow angered by the shooting and wanting an apology goes to Danny's father Michael McCormack who taking the word of his son over the old man basically tells him off. But Avery wants whats right. He takes his problem to the law who can't do anything about the matter and tell him that Michael's Lawyers can keep Danny from facing any kind of punishment. He gets help from a journalist and soon Danny and Michael are both threatening violence. Soon backed into corner and harrassed Avery takes matters further inciting violence from the McCormacks despite Harold the younger bullied son who wants to do whats right.
I really liked this film far much more than I would. Theres a lot to be said from the simplicity of the direction to the characterization of the three main characters. Most of Ketchum's work I'd best describe as lurid but suprisingly the script from the writer of The Grudge remakes keeps things simple building things up like a slow burn letting the action intensify. It also helps I suppose with the actors involved. Tom Sizemore and Noel Fisher are fine as the villains who are more bullies who don't want to admit weakness to an old man. But this is Brian Cox's film in my opinion. Cox is one of the best living actors in my opinion someone who its always a pleasure to watch be it in Super Troopers or Manhunter-where his performance as Hannibal Lector trounces Anthony Hopkins easily. Here he presents an earnest old man who doesn't want the violence that happens but won't let the McCormacks have their way. Its one of the better performances of its kind nicely dialed down but still capable of anger. I'll say one thing though. Theres a monologue delivered by Cox in the middle of the film which to me was one of the best moments of any film this year. Its a quiet moment where He delivers a small speech about his family that doesn't revert to flashback but quietly explores his modest home ending on his face as He relates a tragedy that befell him. Its a great scene earnestly directed and fits with the end as Avery admits the absurdity of the situation.
I enjoyed the film greatly but there was a lack of features that made the disc somewhat of a disappointment. I wanted to say that I highly regard the film but with the lack of features there was also a problem with severe combing in the image that was through the majority of the film which is why I only rated it a four. I'd say rent the film and wait for the price to drop if you like it. But do see the movie."