Film Review: Red White and Blue
Simon Rumley, who in his first film, The Living and the Dead, created one of the most harrowing British horror films of the 00’s, has crossed the pond to deliver this brutal, low budget film that splits its genres in two: the first half is dark indie mystery, which leads into the second act’s descent into a revenge flick. Erica (played coldly but hauntingly by Amanda Fuller), a promiscuous young woman, spends her nights sleeping with random strangers. She refuses to let anybody get close to her, including new neighbour Nate (Noah Taylor), who seems to be a genuinely decent, if slightly disturbed ex-war veteran. Then, one of the men she slept with (a creepy and pathetic Marc Senter) contracts HIV and wants payback. From there, the film quickly slides into hell.
Though Fuller and Senter give strong performances, the film is a showcase for terrific Noah Taylor. Last seen as the timid Dad in the brilliant British comedy Submarine, Taylor here is unrecognisable as the restrained man with simmering, unexplained issues. While the first half of the film shows him being an enigmatic loner, trying to form a vague relationship with Fuller, the second half shows him go out as he searches for the truth. With a thick Southern accent and a face of suppressed rage, Taylor is really outstanding as he dishes out the violence in the second act.
However, after a first half that could be described as low key, the second half goes all out as Taylor turns vigilante on his hunt for Fuller. The violence is incredibly brutal, and numerous scenes will shock. Though the film is grimy and unpleasant, and you may feel like you need a cold shower after your first viewing, to label it torture porn would be harsh, as it has a real emotional core and very humanistic performances. Though Red White & Blue may be too unpleasant to be enjoyed, and its prolonged first act does drag, it is worth watching, to see an example of how a torture film can rise above schlock like Hostel, and also for the electric performance from Noah Taylor.
By Harry Ford