Red White & Blue Movie Review
Erica (Fuller) cleans her boarding house for free rent, then spends evenings in bars looking for men. She never sees the same guy twice, and seems to take it as a personal insult if anyone tries to talk to her. Then she loses her job and has to find real work, reluctantly befriends the rather odd war veteran Nate (Taylor) and starts to clean up her life and come out of her shell. Meanwhile, hothead rocker Franki (Senter) is unable to get over both a break-up and some bad news. And he blames Erica.
The film opens with a moody musical montage of Erica spending a night trawling through bars and clubs, then falling into bed with three men. It's clear that her nightly sexual encounters are devoid of feeling or enjoyment, and clearly Erica likes it that way. Yet even when we've heard her gruelling back-story and seen glimmers of hope for a positive future, there's the sense that her past is going to catch up with her.
The actors play their roles with such raw honesty that they're not always easy to like. Everyone is rather abrasive, but they're also realistic people struggling to make their way while dragging all kinds of baggage with them. At the centre, Fuller gives us someone to identify with, even in Erica's more extreme moments. Taylor is terrific in an intriguingly layered role as her first real friend. And Senter manages to make Franki surprisingly complex.
Rumley gives the movie a dark, lush tone that continually hints that something's deeply wrong here. As a result, we know Erica won't get away with this careless lifestyle and antisocial behaviour, which gives the film a whiff of uncomfortable moralising. And then there's the elusive storytelling and abruptly disorienting shifts in perspective from Erica to Franki to Nate. So while it's a skilful, startling mash-up of mumblecore and horror, the excessive developments of the final act are perhaps a bit too gruelling.