Saturday, November 22, 2008
A Dark character study starring Brian Cox, Red will stay with you after the credits roll. Cox stars in this smaller, quieter, more unsettling Valley of Elah-esq tale of a single man trying to find truth and justice in the ugly face of the modern world. When three teenagers find "old timer" Ludlow (Cox) out fishing with his dog Red they attempt to rob him. When he doesn't present himself an apt victim, they shoot his dog in cold blood. Ludlow does some footwork and locates the boys' families, confronting them first( with poor results) before turning to legal action. When the police fail to come through and a news special on Ludlow by a sympathetic reporter exacerbates the situation, he finds himself having to go to even greater lengths to get retribution. But each attempt by Ludlow for justice is returned in spades by the boys and their sadistic father in increasingly violent ways. However, Ludlow has a dark past himself, driving him to make sense of the situation and find satisfaction, even at a great cost. Brian Cox is the entire film, the supporting cast, as competent as they are. are just that -- supporting. In this case that is a good thing. Cox's movements and expressions, even when there is no dialogue to be had (often in this quite, brooding script) emotes and manipulates the audience. I've been awed by Brian Cox since Man Hunter (in my head he will always be the only Hannibal Lector) and am pleased to see him take the lead. Underrated and overlooked, this is a stunning, unforgettable independent film, showcasing both the skills of the star and the continued growth of auteur Lucky McKee. Standouts Kim Dickens (Deadwood) is memorable in her limited screen time and Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars) is still playing a teenager, but developing into quite a character actor.