Thursday, November 09, 2006

RED ROAD - powerful, intense Glasgow-set drama

RED ROAD is a powerful intense movie from first time feature-length writer-director Andrea Arnold. It focuses on a middle-aged woman living in contemporary Glasgow. She works as a CCTV operator - scrutinising footage of people walking passed shops and sitting in bus shelters. Her voyeurism slips into her private life by small steps - each recorded in this deliberately-paced, slow-building movie. The lack of orchestral score or staged lighting and hand-held camerawork adds to the feeling of claustrophobic realism. We are always looking at people on TV, or through windows and grilles. As the movie progresses, the motivations of the woman are slowly and subtly unfolded. Indeed, this is one of the movie's key pleasures and I don't want to spoil your enjoyment of the film by doing a conventional plot summary. Essentially, she starts following a man that she perceives to be linked to her past and a threat to the community. But her increasing obsession with the subject of her gaze means that she is simulataneously fascinated by and dependent on him - while also wanting to exorcise him from her community.

The success of RED ROAD rests on the director's patience with the material - drip-feeding the audience a little more information - a little more character motivation as the minutes unfold. It also rests on two stunning lead performances from Kate Dickie and Tony Curran - who tackle emotionally and physically brutal material. If there were any justice in the world - and if the Academy were a little less mawkish - Dickie would be receiving nominations.....

RED ROAD played Cannes were it won the Jury Prize. It also played Toronto and London. It is on release in the UK and opens in France on December 6th. It opens in the Netherlands on February 1st 2007.


  1. I think Andrea Arnold also directed the short film WASP which was very well made & acted but I never liked it much. This film sounds good though. Maybe I could see it tomorrow instead of Saw III although I'm sure that would mean having to go to Glasgow instead of Clydebank.

  2. Andrea Arnold actually won an Oscar for Wasp. It's worth going out of your way to see Red Road (Although in fairness I haven't seen Saw 3)

  3. where d'ya get to watch all these amazing indie,limited-release films?

    wish i had the opportunity to watch em'

  4. I thought she'd won an Oscar for it but wasn't sure so I didn't say anything about it. Won't be seeing Saw III until next week which should give me time to see the first two. I also noticed that The Prestige isn't showing in Clydebank either, but shit like The Guardian & Step Up are (or were). That cinema sucks!

  5. just watched Shortbus,which was beyond disappointing-the one-dimensional characters who seem to be having breakdowns here & there (and we're supposed to sympathise with them wen there's almost ZERO character dev?,the use of sex to try cover the countless plotholes and inconsistancies in the storyline-and the whole darn thing was like a classy porn movie with really good music.the worse was the ending-they ran out of time so decided to increase the sentimality level by bringing in some sort of band and touchy music to get all the characters suddenly feel good and happy,how truly pathetic.

    this is one of the worst movies i've seen.

  6. @amanda
    "breakdowns here and there" - wow! a rather callous take on some serious issues with mental health.
    "zero character dev" - the entire movie is about a journey for the main female protagonist and her husband and their marriage - did you really not see it?
    "porn movie" - that would imply you found it titilating?
    "some sort of band" - this was an actual rendering of what happened during the brown out as interviews with Justin Bond will attest to.
    Of course you are entitled to your views, but I would still encourage people to see this movie.