Red Road (2006)
Directed by Andrea Arnold
Starring Kate Dickie, Tony Curran
The first part of a trilogy of films under the moniker of The Advance Party another of Lars von Triers challenges, each film authored by a different director, using the same cast playing the same characters.
For once, a tale of revenge, retribution and redemption that is believable wrapped in a commentary on modern Britain.
Jackie, (Kate Dickie) a CCTV camera operator carries a world-weary look and leads a dull life with only the occasional sordid and loveless tryst with a married co-worker to look forward to.
She spends her days listlessly viewing the lives of others through the many screens before her, reporting anything suspicious to the police. Her life carries on in the same fashion, until the day she spies someone very familiar, somebody that has deeply affected her life in the past.
From that moment she is gradually taken over by obsession, primarily as voyeur through the CCTV cameras to virtually becoming a stalker as she keeps track of every movement of this man. All that we know is that somehow, he has caused her a great deal of distress and that whatever he did, lead to him receiving a heavy gaol sentence.
Her actions become even stranger as she gradually worms her way into his life, his apartment and his small circle of friends on the downbeat housing estate of Red Road. Why would she put herself into such a precarious position, what has this man, Clyde (Tony Curran) done that has had such a dramatic effect on her life?
The reasons for Jackies behaviour are gradually given, no information is easily imparted but this helps to add to the genuine sense of tension and confusion. Although at times her actions may seem at odds with common sense, they do ring true. Not once is there any form of the hyped up melodramatics were used to seeing in a film of this type. The cast keep everything tight and down to earth and the story pulls you in and grips you until the final denouement.
There may be problems for some audiences as far as the language and the sex scene are concerned; the language is realistic, peppered with coarse profanities and at times almost unintelligible because of the broad Glaswegian accent, subtitles may be necessary. The sex scene is also pretty graphic and realistic, certainly not glamorised in any way, reminicent of the scene in Nuri Bilge Ceylans Climates though not quite as aggressive.
All in all Red Road is a finely crafted gritty drama and a great example of independent British cinema. Apparently a lot of the script was improvised, this is always a risky move but unlike some other films, the cast keep it simple, honest realistic and natural, very well done.
Well worth checking out.
R2 dvd released by Drakes Avenue, surprisingly (for this particular distributor) there are extras.
Behind the scenes, unfortunatey very short.
Excerpts from interviews with the cast and director.