I’m quickly becoming a huge fan of Jack Ketchum and his film adaptations, which thus far have all been fantastic. Today I caught the world premiere of RED here at the Sundance Film Festival and was blown away at what was an extraordinarily intense thriller.
Easily Stephen Susco’s best screenplay to date, the film was adapted from Ketchum’s novel about a couple of kids kill a dog named ‘Red’, the trusty hound of an old gent. The owner finds out who they are, and tries to bring them to justice by informing the authorities. However, this amounts to nothing, so he decides to dish out his own brand of retribution.
Like all Ketchum stories I’ve seen adapted to film (Girl Next Door, The Lost), the main focus is on character development. Each character is deconstructed giving us more involvement in their stories as the film progresses. If you want true suspense, true intensity and true tragedy the only way to achieve this is through character development. Susco takes Ketchum’s story to new levels and puts the viewer through an emotional rollercoaster ride.
Brian Cox is convincing in his role and does a lot to keep the emotional level of the film high. Director Trygve Allister Diesen, does a phenomenal job of taking the time to really focus in on the storytelling throughout the film and bring relevance to the history of each character. The cross relationship between Brian Cox’s character’s kids and wife to the children who murdered his dog are unparalleled. If Trygve hadn’t invested some serious screen time to these moments RED wouldn’t have been half as good as it was.
Don’t get me wrong; this is NOT a horror film. This is a drama-thriller that will really hit you in the gut. The only real negative things I have to say about the film is I felt that certain scenes looked too look and you can tell it was shot in HD, while the score was a little too simplistic. When it’s all said and done whomever acquires the film could do a little clean up work and turn in one hell of a film.
If you’re into character driven films RED is surely your cup of tea, but don’t expect a bloodbath or even a heavy amount of violence. RED is about a father trying to correct mistakes of his past through the individual who murdered his dog. It’s a sad, gut-wrenching tale that is sure to entertain.