Red Road Andrea Arnold

Red Road Andrea Arnold

Red Road is such a bravura piece of filmmaking that it takes a while for the deficiencies of the plot to sink in. Director Andrea Arnold is so good at doodling in the margins of her dank surveillance society nightmare world that you almost don’t notice that her script is a bit on the sappy side. The tension between the two sensibilities may divide your loyalties as to what you think of the final product. The early scenes are superb at narrative misdirection; the story of CCTV operator Jackie (Kate Dickie) is told in pieces so that her personal trauma only sinks in gradually. But one day, Clyde (Tony Curran) shows up on her monitor, out of prison and probably unrepentant. Her limited power as an eye-in-the-sky allows her to find the man, stalk him and worm her way into his life, with a terrible objective in mind that isn’t clear until the climax. Arnold’s pictures are gorgeously bleak, with the depressing housing project on the eponymous road looking like some awful place in Hell, and she’s great at unconventional casting and behavioural asides that make her vision that much more credible. Still, the film is disappointingly simple once the narrative points come together, another story of someone who has to let go and move on with her life. Veering off of Red Road and onto Degrassi Street, the script makes a puzzling match with the superlatively scabrous visuals, especially when they evoke details of life on the margins better than any movie this year. It loses something in the transition from the big screen to your monitor, and it doesn’t hold up to repeated viewings, but it also offers snatches of things that are better than most of the whole movies that make it to theatres. (Seville)