Though it’s tough to call RED, WHITE, & BLUE a straight up horror film, the final moments of this emotional loopty-loop have some of the most shocking scenes I’ve seen put to film in quite a while. Director/writer Simon Rumley pulls not single punch in the final half hour after lulling the audience in with a charming story about a promiscuous woman (Amanda Fuller) developing a relationship with a war vet (Noah Taylor). Though not for the squeamish (but what the hell are the squeamish doing reading a column called AICN HORROR anyway?), RED, WHITE, & BLUE is well acted, masterfully directed, and utterly memorable.
Structurally, I liken RED, WHITE, & BLUE to TAXI DRIVER. Both are about damaged people seeking companionship and both end with an explosively violent climax. But while TAXI DRIVER suffers from a bit of a lull up until the bombastic ending, I was entertained by RED, WHITE, & BLUE throughout. The core of this film is the love story between Erica (Amanda Fuller,)a woman who refuses to have relationships, only brief sexual encounters, and Nate (Noah Taylor, best known for his role as a young Geoffrey Rush in SHINE, but unrecognizable here), an Iraq War vet who is deliberating about going back to work for the government. Both actors expertly show periods of intimacy toward each other, yet bristle at the touch of anyone else they encounter. The third lead, Marc Senter, offers a capable performance as Franki, a singer in a garage band and one of Erica’s former suitors, but his performance doesn’t compare to the two leads. Then again, Franki is given quite a bit of story to chew and does so in a way that makes you both like and loathe him all at once.
Though the film has been out for a while, I won’t reveal the kick to the balls reveal toward the end of the film or the horrific events that spawn from it. All I can say is that RED, WHITE, & BLUE is the type of film that leaves scars you’ll be picking long after the closing credits. The sheer brutality of the acts that occur in the final moments resonate mainly because of the time and patience director Rumley allows us with the lives of these three main characters. It’s a harrowing journey to get to the end of this film, but well worth the trip. With July Fourth a few days behind us, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the nation’s independence than with this little indie film from Texas that lulls you in with a gentle caress, but leaves you in a pool of your own juices with a powerhouse kick to the gut.