Dir/scr. Simon Rumley. UK/US. 2010. 102mins.
As he proved in the haunting The Living And The Dead (2007), Simon Rumley is one of the great British cinematic outsiders, a gifted director with the know-how to puncture the conventions of horror with sophisticated interwoven time frames and unpredictable acts of violence by individuals in crisis.
Marketed cleverly, Red White & Blue could give him the crossover he deserves, especially because it is so American in concept and setting – smug slackers and their nemeses in the mostly claustrophobic spaces of Austin, Texas. It’s a switch from The Living And The Dead’s deranged landed gentry in a cavernous British stately home, but no façade remains intact once Rumley has performed his magic.
Wisely, he takes his time getting there. For nearly the first half of the film, Rumley follows Erica (Fuller), a distant but wildly promiscuous young woman who cleans a house in lieu of rent. Her landlady replaces her with a craggy newcomer, Nate (Australian actor Taylor, whose Texas accent is flawless), recently honourably discharged from Iraq, where he worked as an interrogator in especially difficult cases.
The older man becomes obsessed with Erica, more as a protector than a suitor. They have something in common: her sexuality and his war experience are weapons of destruction. A violent act by the normally laid-back local boys triggers Nate’s sociopathic bent, sending the movie into a wild new dimension.
Shot in 18 days with a Red Camera, Red White & Blue will have its American premiere appropriately enough at Austin’s South by Southwest Film Festival.
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