Dave White
Red Road Review

Dave's Rating:

4.5

… cold and desolate …

Who's in It: Kate Dickie, Tony Curran, Martin Compston, Nathalie Press, Andrew Armour, Paul Higgins

The Basics: Now this is a Rear Window remake worthy of the comparison (see Disturbia for one that's not). Set in a grimy Glasgow public housing project, a sullen woman named Jackie, who operates the project's security cameras, spies a red-haired guy she knows. She's not happy to see him again, but she begins trailing him like the hardest-boiled detective ever. Of course, it's not like she's going to get much in the way of a happy ending, either.

What's the Deal? You don't get to see many female-centric movies where the woman in question gets to occupy the same kind of unsentimental space that male characters are allowed. But this one is about as direct and raw as it gets, and I'm not just talking about the extreme lengths this woman goes to in order to get the results she desires. It's like every square of this movie feels cold and desolate, and it doesn't use its female protagonist to warm things up even one degree above bone-chilling.

Pedigree: From Andrea Arnold, who won an Oscar for her 2003 short, Wasp. This is, I understand, the first part of a trilogy from three directors based on the same characters. And knowing that is why even the slightly hopeful ending feels like just the beginning of something even darker down the road.

All English Doesn't Sound the Same: I've seen a lot of films from the U.K., so I'm not a novice at tilting my ears toward the, at times, thicker-than-mud dialects of the Scottish, Irish, Welsh and English. But at the risk of sounding like an uncultured boor, I'm just going to admit that some of the dialogue sounded like an incomprehensible language. So, seriously, filmmakers, could you maybe help us dumb Yanks out a bit and put some subtitles on your films when it's time for U.S. distribution? It would really help.

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