Red (2008) Review (R)

I’m probably a little biased in reviewing this since I’m such a Brian Cox fan (he’s still the best Hannibal Lecter in my book), so take that into account when reading this. ‘Red’ is a low budget film that leans heavily on its star. Cox plays the central character Avery in a very low key way. He loses his accent with no problem and plays the kind of part that usually doesn’t get much notice when awards are handed out.

The story is pretty simple. Avery is a man that lives alone  with his dog, Red. He seems content with his life until a young hoodlum shoots Red for no reason other than to be mean. Noel Fisher plays that hoodlum who comes between a man and his dog. Fisher must have done an outstanding job, also, because I wanted Cox to go get a rifle and get rid of the little puke as violently as possible right from the start. Anyway…

Avery seeks justice for his dog. He does his best to do so the right way. After he manages to find out who the young hoodlum is, he tries first talking to his father. The minute it’s revealed that Tom Sizemore is the father, it’s not hard to figure he’s not going to be cooperative in any kind of reparation. In fact, he shows open disdain for Avery and laughs at the idea that he should be affected by the death of his dog.

Of course, Avery is not going to be satisfied with that and he begins to seek a solution with the local police and a lawyer, but he is stymied at every turn with his antagonists getting the upper hand at every turn. But Avery refuses to let the matter go and things begin to escalate.

The story actually has some subtlety (far more than I’m making it sound). It has some nice little setups and payoffs such as a gun store owner’s story of a dog early in the film that comes back later. There’s also some things that are left to the viewer like maybe how Avery’s oldest son factors into why he can’t seem to let it go, when justice eludes him at every turn, the system seemingly being in favor of the transgressors. There are some hidden reasons revealed as to why Avery refuses to let the matter go away (and he shouldn’t have). There is an ever so slight supernatural element that comes up towards the end that I really liked. I also enjoyed the appearance by little known actress Kim Dickens, even if her role in the film isn’t essential. This is a solid indie film, if you’re a fan of Brian Cox. It’s a little slow moving, but indie dramas usually are. It’s also the best film called ‘Red’ that Cox has appeared in. This movie came out in 2008 (a very good year in movies), but it made my Top  20 Films of 2008.

4 of 5

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