Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Finally Seeing Red

A friend used to scan the new movie trailers on Apple's site regularly. One day he mentioned an upcoming flick called Red.

I realized he was talking about a Jack Ketchum adaptation. "I don't know if I have the stones for that," I said, because I knew it was the tale of a confrontation between an old man and the teens who'd killed his dog. (My vision, incorrectly, was of a hermit stalking unsympathetic but focal teen characters.)

I read Off Season when I was a kid without flinching, but like most viewers I do flinch if animals die on screen. I've almost recovered from Old Yeller, but it took a while.

 I kind of  avoided Red until it popped up recently as a Netflix watch instantly option. David Naill Wilson had mentioned Jack Ketchum's Crossroad Press titles, and I rather liked Red director Lucky McKee's ghost story The Woods.

So, bracing myself, I selected it and watched the credits roll. It's an impressive span of credits including Amanda Plumer and Freddy himself, Robert Englund.

A film not a flick
I can't really say a flick about a man's murdered dog was a pleasant surprise, but the film is, well, a film and not just a flick.

Starring Brian Cox who's tackled many tough roles and character turns, Red is a well realized achievement that does not take an easy path.

Cox is  Avery Ludlow a small town store owner, who's still mourning the brutal loss of his wife. Red, his dog, was her gift to him on his 50th birthday and all he has left of her.


While fishing, Avery encounters three young jerks led by Danny (Noel Fisher), a particularly nasty and violent rich kid. Danny and friends shoot Red out of spite, mercifully in an almost off-camera moment.

This is no, pardon me, rabid revenge film, though. Avery sets out to seek legal remedies for the wrong and to perhaps see Danny's spiraling course corrected.

Instead Danny's wealthy father played by Tom Sizemore backs his son and twists legal arms to thwart
prosecution. Kim Dickens as a reporter is on hand to note how often animal cruelty is lightly prosecuted.

Things go badly, with Cox maintaining a subdued demeanor as every attempt he makes for justice falls apart.

Things get violent, but never in an exploitive way as the conclusion arrives.

Red is not for all tastes, but if you are in the right place, it's an excellent watch instantly selection and an excellent realization of Jack Ketchum's dark vision.

Further Reading

The Woman  by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee, soon to be another major motion picture.

(Full disclosure: Crossroad Press has also brought out my e-book titles.)

6 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I have REd but haven't read it yet. Ketchum can be intense.

Steve Malley said...

Wow. Good day to drop back around and see what you've been up to! I dig Ketchum, once I work up the nerve to open the book... :)

Sidney said...

Yeah, he always has an interesting spin.

Kate Sterling said...

Not sure I could watch that. Something rather similar actually happened with my mom's dog and her husband. I was having flashbacks reading this. Not pretty.

Sidney said...

Yeah, it's a little difficult going at first in the viewing. Over my lifetime my family's lost two dogs to similar animal cruelty. It's always horrible when it occurs and inexcusable and frustratingly my Congressman earns a 0 on the Humane Society's scorecard for supporting meaningful animal welfare and anti cruelty legislation.

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