Behind all of the hoopla of the Sundance screening (and fake auction) for Red State, there was actually a film that was made. Coming out in theaters for a short period, at the same time as VOD… and a Kevin Smith Q&A tour of the film, I applaud Smith for pushing the boundaries of distribution.
But did the film live up to the hype? Let’s start with the hype. Once you sifted through the bullshit, there wasn’t much – as all the reporting was focused more on Smith and less on his actual movie. But I did catch discussions on the SlashFilm podcast as well as Filmspotting. They all agreed that is was a step forward for Kevin Smith the filmmaker, but were torn on the actual movie itself.
For me, the movie was way over the top and at times a bit too farcical. It starts off well and then descends into what can only be described as madness. And not David Lynch of Cronenberg madness – just ridiculousness. I felt bad for the actors, who were all giving it their best – but were all over the place. Especially Stephen Root’s Sheriff Wynan. He was acting in a Broken Lizard movie, while most of the scenes he was in were a serious cult movie. I understand Kevin Smith’s humor will shine through every now and then, but that is more dialogue based.
This type of stuff took me right out of the film and I ultimately just didn’t care about any of the characters. So when shit is going down, I wasn’t rooting for anyone. And that is a problem.
Kevin Smith has said he wants to do a hockey two-fer and then he’ll retire. I haven’t liked anything he has done since Mallrats (which I loved, along with Clerks)… so I won’t shed a tear.