A trio of outstanding performances of tormented wayward souls anchors Simon Rumley’s ambitious horror film. Tackling some very heavy weight issues and situations, the well observed and very real human indie drama is a tight and engaging watch before Rumley plays his trump card of revenge in the form of a scuzzy Noah Taylor unleashing hell.
For connoisseurs of the splatter it’s worth the wait, the realistic and gruesome scenes which there are not many of are of the torturous kind. The level of violence both graphic and suggested is at severe, which should challenge even those with the strongest of constitutions.
Austin, Texas’ less salubrious haunts are where Erica (Amanda Fuller) is to be found seeking temporary male company, in the futile hope to anesthetise herself. She is a lonely scarred figure in a community of loners desperately trying to make do. As harsh as the abuse she has endured, her femininity is reluctantly coaxed by a new arrival in the form of the bearded Iraq veteran and social misfit, Nate (Taylor). His confessions are as chilling as the work he does, but his candid and genteel nature challenges the guarded Erica, enough to be curious. Disturbed by her promiscuity however, he viciously defends what little honour she has, offering a glimpse of the torture this man has seen and done, and a provides crucial portend.
From here the relationship develops through a series of simple montages that both disarm and placate Nate and Erica and for the most part we too share their peace, compassion and hope.
Much the same can be said at Rumley’s introduction of his third and most mercurial character, Franki (Marc Senter). The young rocker is on the cusp of breaking free from the deadendness of a menial job and the agonising time caring for his cancer stricken mother. News of her remission and the promise of a tour bouy his spirits, but it’s tragically short lived with the discovery that he is HIV positive after an unprotected tryst. A cataclysmic series of heart breaking events prompts the enraged Franki to confront the carrier, Erica, bringing him in direct conflict with her protector Nate.
The ensuing violence is disturbing, almost unncessary on one hand given the amount of empathy invested in the characters. More so as the rage seems to come out of leftfield. Rumley is pessimistic about human nature and in this case, rightly so. The point is to present our primal rage unfettered and for this he ambitiously succeeds. The viewing is uncomfortable, particularly as Taylor gives a frightening performance. His small wiry frame seems ineffectual until Rumley zooms in on his arms bulging veins cursing with rage. What he does with those arms is the highlight of the film.
Red, White and Blue is out in cinemas 30th September 2011.
Director: Simon Rumley
Writer: Simon Rumley
Stars: Amanda Fuller, Marc Senter, Jon Michael Davis
Runtime: 103 min