And with that another one of those films is knocked off my list! I finished watching the English film Red Rocket which has been lying in my watchlist since quite some time now. This comes from the director of The Florida Project, Sean Baker, which I had found quite refreshing then. One notable theme which I could spot in his earlier film was the portrayal of American Middle Class. Sitting here in India a few of us dream of settling in the States. This is because we reckon that the standard of living is far better in the US. While that might be true upto an extent, it ain’t true completely. There would still be quite a good chunk of people who are just like us sitting here and so I felt The Florida Project had captured that quite wonderfully. With Red Rocket releasing, I did have high hopes although like always I did not watch its trailer. So then is Red Rocket worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Red Rocket follows the story of an ex-porn star who returns to his hometown where he isn’t entirely welcomed well. The story is in your slice of life genre. And the story might have extreme reactions, either you will love it or you will not. This has much to do with some controversial scenes which push the envelope along with the storytelling technique which makes it a niche. The screenplay has dollops of dark humour integrated in it(including a take on the socio-political situation) and it is upto you to spot it. The pace of the drama isn’t slow as such but it unfolds at a leisurely pace. The equation of the protagonist with other characters(at least a few of them) is well established early on the film. Again the thing that stood out here was the representation of the middleclass people. Every needs money but everyone doesn’t have money which is a necessity at the end of the day. Also there are plenty of graphic scenes that go well with the narrative but they are sure to meet with mixed reactions. Making love to a minor is something that would make you uncomfortable while viewing it, but then the other side of the argument is that that relationship was an integral part of the drama. The film maintains its pace throughout but has a little unsatisfactory end. But overall, a very different approach to penning a screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational and they definitely hold weightage. The BGM is nice and breezy that goes well with the drama. The cinematography is exquisite and some of the frames are breathtaking. The colour graph in the film gives it a fresh vibe. Director Sean Baker has done a swell job and his approach to direction is a special one. He is unapologetic and abashed and always wanting to push the envelope which I quite liked. The direction is pretty good here.
The performances are pretty good here. Suzanna Son as Strawberry looks gorgeous and does a fine job here. She remains uninhibited and that is what drives her performance. Bree Elrod as Lexi makes her presence felt as does Ethan Darbone as Lonnie and Brittney Rodriguez as June. But it is Simon Rex in probably his best performance of his career as Mikey who steals the show. As the charming loud mouthed pornstar, he is unapologetic and quite brilliant to watch in each frame. Overall an excellent performance.
Red Rocket is a whimsical portrayal of American Middleclass which might be a niche but is definitely enjoyable to watch.