(2011) Red State
Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Michael Parks, John Goodman, Michael Angarano, Kyle Gallner
United States of America, the term ‘ ’ is used to describe a state whose population leans more towards voting Republican, and in America Republican usually stands for Christian and conservative. Red State is a great title for Kevin Smith’s new film because it deals precisely with people who lean towards the extremely conservative side of things, which is as much of an extreme as extreme liberals. I’m always happiest living my life somewhere in between these two schools of thought; a happy medium where everyone is respected. Ultimately, I don’t lean towards any given group because I don’t like to ‘belong’ to anything and follow anybody but myself. To me we all see the world in our own different ways, and that’s fine. But as Red State helps us see, there are twisted ways of looking at this world. Not everyone believes in ‘live and let live’. Not everyone says ‘let’s co-exist’. Some say ‘kill those that don’t think like us…because the bible says so!’ Red State
we meet a trio of teenagers who are excited because they’ve just hooked up with some chick over the internet who says she wants to have sex with all three of them at the same time. So, off they go on their sexual escapades…too bad for them that it’s all part of a trap being set up by the members of the ‘Five Points Church’ to eradicate homosexuals from their community. You see to the Christians of this film, homosexuals are beasts, sick people with twisted desires. Some church going folks have no problems in expressing their hatred towards homosexuals. Ever seen the members of the ‘ Red State ’ holding those “God Hates Fags” signs in their protests? Never mind that the bible teaches people to love your enemy, or love thy neighbor, that part of the scripture is ignored when gay people come into play. In Westboro Baptist Church we meet a group of gay hating Christians who gather the ‘sinners’ and kill them systematically. Will the three sexually adventurous teens escape the religious cult with their lives? Red State
So basically, this is one risky movie for Kevin Smith to make and I applaud him for making it because when you decide to analyze religion and preachers and cults, well, movie studios tend to back away from producing films like that. You know how studios are when it comes to religion and politics, they hate referencing these themes because they know it will alienate a large part of the audience. Filmmakers that try to address these themes (however important they may be to express) always have problems when it comes to getting their ideas produced. Just look at Paul Thomas Anderson, an amazing director, a true talent that makes amazing films, yet the latest film he is trying to get made called ‘The Master’ has faced all kinds of problems. Why? Because it’s about religion, that’s why. With Red State, Kevin Smith wanted to say his bit about religion, he knew he couldn’t spend a lot of money on a film that was presenting an unpopular idea, so he went and made it for a mere 4 million dollars which is loose change when it comes to making a film. But still, a film that’s this ‘in your face’ about exposing the many faults of religion, well, you have to be ready for a bit of a backlash.
These are real people on the above pics by the way.
And so, same as with Kevin Smith’s Dogma (199) people protested. Most of the protesters came from the churches that felt were being referenced in the film, like the
for example. What they didn’t expect was for Kevin Smith to pull his own comedic counter protest! But this kind of backlash is expected with a film such as this; after all Smith is talking about real events and real people. For example, some of the events that take place in Red State are entirely based on the events that happened in real life with David Koresh and his ‘Branch Davidian’ sect; a sect that masqueraded as servants of God, started to arm themselves with all sorts of guns. In the end, the Branch Davidians ended up going up against the Westboro Baptist Church government themselves. Of course, they lost the battle; a small group of people going up against the all powerful U.S. government is never a good idea. And so, the Davidian church was burned to the ground, with all its followers inside, including women and children. Depending on whom you believe, either they burned themselves down in mass suicide, or the government saw them as too much of a threat to society and burned them all down. After seeing the documentary U.S. : The Rules of Engagement (1997), I lean towards the idea that it was the government themselves who made this sect disappear because they were deemed too dangerous and out of control. This is basically, the same type of scenario that we see in Smith’s Waco , a showdown between the government, and a crazy cult. Red State
A similar situation also happened with Jim Jones and his “
Sadly, a film of this nature, a film that’s so truthful about so many things gets flamed because its basically saying that the product of faith are crazy loons like Reverend Abin Cooper and his followers. But the truth is that in many cases, this has been absolutely true. Okay, so not everybody who reads the bible and goes to church will turn into a gun totting crazy person, that’s true. But some do. The real problem is that the bible gives the tools necessary to pull these types of crazy things off, because the bible does teach some truly questionable things! I’ve personally heard Christians say that yes, they would kill their son or daughter if god told them too, just like he told Abraham to. How crazy is that? In the film, Reverend Abin Cooper quotes the bible directly on many occasions, and then says “This is scripture!” and then he repeats it: “This is scripture!” as if to make the point clear, as if saying “I know this sounds extreme, but this is the bible I’m quoting here and don’t you dare defy it!” True, many of the things taught in the bible defy logic and moral, yet unfortunately, since its “the word of god” it gives the perfect excuse to any loon out there to do them and say they were doing ‘gods will’. Kevin Smith and his new film had the guts to say this, unfortunately, the world is so programmed by religion that they uniformly rejected Smith’s film. Even if it’s a good one. Im not just saying
is good because I agree with it’s message, I’m saying its good because it really is. It has some really great tense moments. Its got one twist after another. It’s incredibly engaging. But even though Red State is actually good, the expected barrage of bad press came, and to be honest, the bad press doesn’t even feel truthful or objective; it just feels like they say these bad things about the film simply to get everyone to distance themselves from a film that might help them see religion and the bible differently. Red State ended up being too controversial for even a proper theatrical release; instead it went straight to DVD. Not because it’s a bad movie (because it isn’t) not because it sucks, but because what is saying is deemed too dangerous to air on such a mass medium as movie theaters. This shouldn’t surprise anyone now should it? After all, the truth is rarely popular thing in this world. Red State
Rating: 5 out of 5