Premise: Kevin Smith directs the least Kevin Smith movie he’s ever done. A few teenagers end up prisoner at a religious cult’s heavily armed compound. Some federal agents show up and the movie then becomes a 45 minute shoot-out.
-The movie has a 45 minute shoot-out.
-Michael Park plays a good Fred Phelps like role, where you can never really tell whether he’s selling snake oil or truly believes in the garbled nonsense he’s spitting out. Melissa Leo provides an adequate level of crazy. John Goodman is busy being awesome John Goodman.
-Wait, was that Kevin Pollak?
-Really short running time (under 90 minutes). If it were 5 minutes longer I’d say it went on too long.
-Pregnant woman firing machine gun… it happens in this.
-Instead of ending on the action, Kevin Smith tries to close the movie on an almost Coen Brothers level of philosophical dialogue.
-Ends on a pretty good laugh.
-I don’t feel like the point came across as strong as Smith would have liked it to. Either that or it came across too straight forward. It did nothing to enhance or change my views on religious cults. There’s nothing I didn’t already know or have feelings about.
-Now, I don’t mind a good helping of Hollywood violence, but the violence in this movie was used almost as needless filler. It ultimately didn’t aid the story or the theme of it all. It was entertaining, though, I suppose.
-Not a big fan of the first act.
Final Thoughts: Red State isn’t something I would call a success, but I don’t think it quite failed either. I think I maybe need a few days to let it sink in a little more. I actually liked it overall. It sufficiently held my attention for 88 minutes. Kind of a short blip of a movie. I probably liked it a little more than most other people will, so I’m not going to recommend it to anyone. If you’re fascinated by religious cults, violent movies, or seeing Kevin Smith go out of his comfort zone (and don’t want to suffer through Cop Out), then it might be worth checking out.
7 out of 10