Red White & Blue: A Slacker Revenge Movie

This was the official website for the 2010 film, Red White & Blue, a slacker revenge movie set in contemporary Austin, starring award winning actor Noah Taylor, Amanda Fuller, and award winning Marc Senter
Red, White and Blue is a powerful, visceral and oddly touching thriller/slash movie. It's also very sophisticated storytelling with temporal shifts and three protagonist characters who function as both the killer and the prey.
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About

Simon Rumley with Best Film Award at the Boston Underground Film Festival
Photo by Stephanie Trepanier, Evokative Films

AWARDS

Boston Underground Film Festival
Winner of Best Film

Fantasia
BEST ACTOR: Noah Taylor
CO-WINNER OF SEQUENCES PRIZE: Best International Film

Red White & Blue, is the new intense film by acclaimed director Simon Rumley (The Living and the Dead), which was shot in Austin, Texas. The movie is a collaboration between the multi-award-winning Rumley and Austin’s Tim League (founder of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas and co-director of Fantastic Fest with aintitcool.com’s Harry Knowles), who is executive producer.

Red White & Blue is a “slacker revenge movie” set in contemporary Austin, starring award winning actor Noah Taylor (Shine, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Vanilla Sky, The Year My Voice Broke, four-time winner of the Film Critic’s Circle of Australia Best Actor Award.), Amanda Fuller (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bones, Women’s Murder Club) and award winning Marc Senter (Screamfest 2006 Best Actor Award for The Lost, Cabin Fever 2).

Red White & Blue is very much a production born out of the Austin movie scene. Simon Rumley met Executive Producer Tim League at Austin’s Fantastic Fest, where the director’s last feature, The Living and the Dead, won 5 awards – Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Make-Up. At the Festival, League discussed the possibility of Rumley shooting a movie in Austin, and Rumley made an extended research trip in early 2009 to soak up more of the atmosphere of the “Live Music Capital of the World”, before honing the script that would become Red White & Blue.

An e-mail shout out to the Alamo’s loyal fanbase resulted in a hoard of extras and possible shooting locations being submitted by Austin residents. Using well-known local landmarks such as Emo’s, Cucarachas, The Broken Spoke and The Austin Diner, Simon has fashioned a realistic, dark revenge movie set in the heart of Linklater-land.

In Rumley’s tightly woven, darkly emotional tale, the lives of three young people – Erica, Franki and Nate – intertwine in a fateful, tragic way and head down a rocky and violent road to heart-rending oblivion.

Erica (Amanda Fuller) lives rent-free in the local co-op, but spends her nights trawling the bars and beds of Austin. Damaged, emotionally withdrawn, never really connecting with anyone, and sleeping with multiple men is just what she does… until she meets the older and mysterious Nate (Noah Taylor), working in a hardware store, but with an “honorable discharge” from Iraq.

Despite his quiet air of danger, Nate’s the only guy who doesn’t seem to want to get her into bed at the first opportunity, and the two form a hesitant bond. But one of Erica’s casual sexual encounters is about to bite back.

Franki (Marc Senter) is a young, hot-headed wannabe rock star trying to make it big. Looking after a sick mother and estranged from his longterm girlfriend, he “shared” Erica with his buddies one drunken evening. It takes a sudden shocking twist of fate to throw his already crazy world into a spin, and in Franki’s eyes there is only one person to blame…

An unashamedly tough and uncompromising movie, Red White & Blue is a fearlessly frank, gut-wrenching romance and a merciless exploration of the futility of violence. Like Rumley’s The Living and the Dead before it, the movie – with its casual nudity and scenes of extreme violence – is no doubt destined for controversy.

One the UK’s most acclaimed independent film-makers, Simon Rumley started his movie career in London with the naturalistic youth-culture feature trilogy Strong Language, The Truth Game and Club Le Monde. Variously described as “essential viewing” (The Times), “engrossing, ambitious and funny” (London Evening Standard), “brilliantly conceived” (Total Film), “a treat… fascinating and original” (Flicks Magazine), “spirited, clever, observant & witty” (Empire), “a definitive work” (Penthouse), “vivid, revealing, fascinating” (The Observer), and “one of the decade’s most important documents of British youth culture” (Film Review), Rumley’s follow up, the short thriller The Handyman, starring Greta Scacchi and Bill Sage, was his first American film, shot in a snowy Vermont. It won Best Short at the prestigious Sitges Film Festival in Spain. His acclaimed, psychological horror movie, The Living and the Dead, won more than 15 international awards and Critics called it “a minor masterpiece” (Channel Four), “excellent” (Aintitcool.com), “near-brilliant” (Variety), “intensely rewarding” (Time Out), and “one of the best films I’ve ever seen” (Film Threat). It was nominated for two Fangoria Chainsaw Awards (Best Film and Best Actor) 2009 and has received numerous festival prizes, (including the Special Jury Commendation for the New Visions Award at Sitges, as well as the Fantastic Fest prizes).

Rumley’s new film, Red White & Blue, is in many ways a synthesis of all his previous work. Shooting on the RED camera with minimal lighting, a small crew and a verite look in real Austin locations, it combines the naturalism of his early films with the intensity and darkness of his later highly distinctive genre works.

The director’s influences range from the observational realism of Eric Rohmer (Pauline at the Beach, Love In The Afternoon), Larry Clark (Kids, Bully) and Austinite Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise) to the stylised genre bending of Park Chan Wook (Oldboy) and Michael Hanneke (Funny Games) by way of tough 1970s “social issue” horror films such as Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left.

Rumley describes Red White & Blue as being “about characters who somehow seem to be to blame for their own downfall but, in spite of the evil they perpetrate, are not actually evil characters”. Exploring a part of our psyche that we often find hard to acknowledge, the movie shines a light on the multi-colored dark side of American life. Red for lust, white for fear, blue for death.

The three young protagonists are very human and very flawed, but empathetic, as Rumley is keen that the audience retains sympathy towards them despite their sometimes extreme actions. Ultimately, Rumley says, Red White & Blue is at its core an emotional story, packing a real punch, about the “futility of violence and why man continues to be so aggressive and spiteful to his fellow man”.

Executive Producers of the film are Tim League, Adam Goldworm (Masters of Horror, Fear Itself) and Doug Abbot (Rumleys Club Le Monde and The Truth Game) and Judy Lipsey (Rumley’s Strong Language). It is produced by Bob Portal (Mr In-Between, In A Dark Place, The River King) and Simon Markham (Blood). Cinematogapher is usual Rumley collaborator Milton Kam (nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for the movie Vanaja) and the editor is Rob Hall (who cut the upcoming Weinstein release The Tournament).

Red White & Blue is a ScreenProjex presentation of a Rumleyvision production in association with Fidelity Films.

REVIEWS

    “Despite the movie’s unchained emotions and visceral punch, Rumley’s unflinching precision allows us to sink into his storytelling, and quietly interlope amongst his characters – even as darkness slowly envelops and extinguishes the last breath of hope that lit their way.” Alison Pineal Eye Review

***

FrightFest 2010 Reviews

    “The penultimate film of Frightfest saw the return of Simon Rumley, and his bleak, realistic American indie style, with Red, White & Blue. This desperate tale of revenge is heartbreaking and devastating, leaving little in its wake. Weaving three troubled peoples lives together in the underbelly of Austin, Texas, Rumley invokes the spirit of Michael Haneke and leaves the audience traumatised as we watch the sad lonely Erica (Amanda Fuller) seek comfort in any bed she can. Iraq war veteran and loner creepy guy Nate (Noah Taylor) casts a protective eye over her as she spirals further down. When one of her previous sexual exploits comes back to haunt her, things go from bad to cataclysmic. Red, White & Blue is certainly not for the faint hearted, but it's dark tones and edgy subject matter make it one of the most mature films of the festival. .” Josh Saco The Quietus Review

Review by: Ben Austwick
Rating: 9 out of 10
September 3rd, 2010 22:52
Starting out as a distasteful-seeming morality tale, morphing into complicated and well scripted social realism and ending in some of the nastiest home invasion scenes you're likely to see, it isn't a surprise that Red, White and Blue's cross-genre approach to film making wasn't a hit with everyone at Frightfest. For some of us though it was the highlight of the weekend, a horrific, powerful film of real moral complexity.

The opening shows Erica, an obviously disturbed young woman, in a series of casual sex scenes, after which she scrubs herself in the shower in a rather heavy-handed visual shorthand for self-disgust. It's a slightly uncomfortable start as Erica's promiscuity is presented as necessarily a result of some kind of self-loathing, and not just, well, fun. Learning that she refuses to use condoms and doesn't have sex with people she likes just seems to lay it on even thicker, but this turns out to be crucial to the plot.

She inhabits a sleazy world of bars and motels in Austin, Texas, the film style social realist, slow burning and naturalistic. The live rock shows and parties she frequents could encourage an uncharitable indie label for the film but it's too realistically portrayed for that, the squalor unpleasant rather than artfully cool. Into this well-realised setting comes Nate, an Iraq veteran drifting through various casual jobs, who takes a liking to Erica.

One of the first things Nate does is explain to Erica that he is a dangerous man. He tells a story of torturing animals in his childhood, setting a parakeet on fire with lighter fluid to see if it would flap its wings faster to put out the flames, burying a dog up to its neck to see if it could dig itself out. His parents bought him a kitten to see if they could get rid of this nasty streak, and he loved the kitten all he could – but carried on torturing other animals just the same. He's telling Erica that she'll be safe with him, that he likes her and will protect her, and woe betide anyone who harms her; but also, by putting his trust in her in this way, he's letting on that he knows she has a secret too.

It's a secret that comes back to haunt Erica, starting a chain of events that spiral to a horrible conclusion. Frustrated, impotent violence is meted out, its victims resorting to it in turn, never malicious but born of a lack of options and a hard-wired desire for revenge. This moral quagmire is harrowing to watch and its victims are well-drawn enough to extract real sympathy from the viewer, one character's fate in particular an upsetting episode that stayed with me long after the film finished.

Red, White and Blue isn't your average revenge movie. Its naturalistic style sets up characters and situations with more believability than most horror films, the violence in turn real and distressing. The revenge itself isn't a mere narrative device but central to the film, a base act of animal stupidity that only begets more violence. Its a sleazy, nasty film of such effectiveness you'll want to scrub it off in the shower yourself after seeing it.

    “…a horrific, powerful film of real moral complexity.” l Ben Austwick QuietEarth Review

    “…there’s also a seedy magic to Rumley’s movie, the sick, slick visuals gleaming with a feverish intensity and the dust and neon painting Austin as a twilight netherworld.” Graham Total Film Review

    “Despite his relatively low profile, Rumley is one of the most important and intelligent British filmmakers working today – and Red White & Blue finds real, harrowing, politically resonant horror in places where no-one else is looking.” Anton Bitel Empire Review

    “Simon Rumley’s ‘Red White & Blue’ is one of the most difficult and disturbing films I’ve seen this year and that’s saying quite a bit. With movies like ‘The Human Centipede,’ ‘A Serbian Film’ and other horrifying gems from around the world recently trickling into our theaters and TV sets, it’s pretty tough to be shocked by anything these days. While the aforementioned films are all the rage, I think the best, most brilliant and most twisted slasher/horror/stomach turner of the year is Simon Rumley’s under-the-radar film ‘Red White & Blue.’”Don R. Lewis Film Threat Review

    “…fascinating and uncompromising” Becky Reed ScreenGeek Review

    “If you enjoy slow burning stories that hit hard when they hit, then Red, White & Blue is a movie you’ll love… Personally I found this one of the best movies of the festival, and one I’ll always remember.” Spencer Hawken Cinemaroll Review

    “Unknown Amanda Fuller gives a vulnerable, heartfelt performance and Noah Taylor again displays the chameleon range that makes him one of the most enigmatic and underrated actors of this particularly generation. This is hard hitting stuff…” Stewart Terry Son of Kermode Review

    “…never stops being gripping in its second half.” Filmwerk Review

    “… unsettling tale of revenge and retribution” LoveHorror Review

    “Raw and at times very real its a story of lost dreams, brutal emotions and lost people.” James Whittington Horror Channel Review

    “Rumley’s carnival of lost souls, everyone is already tormented and traumatised long before the knives come out, and the result is the finest film of the festival – a slow-burning tripartite drama that spirals inexorably towards parallel acts of misdirected vengeance, as well as a trip through the darkest corners of the American psyche.” Anton Bitel Little White Lies Review

***

Fantasia 2010 Reviews

    “Although not fantasy, nor technically horror-at least by Noel Carroll’s ‘art horror’ definition-the film attains a truly horrific, emotionally charged, literally skin-peeling climax.” Chris Chang Film Society of Lincoln Center Review

    “Red, White, and Blue was shot with a hyper clarity and detail that recalls David Lynch’s Blue Velvet and P.T. Anderson films like Boogie Nights. In its bursts of kinetic energy, the film also hearkens back to Sam Peckinpah, while showing the obvious influence of Korean visionary Park Chan-wook’s vengeance cycle.” Maurie Alioff Northern Stars Review

    “Simon Rumley is without a doubt one of the most interesting and talented directors working in genre cinema today.” Evil Andy Dread Central Review

    “Simon Rumley’s slacker thriller Red White & Blue was the highlight of a mixed programme in Montreal… by far the best of the festival.” Georgie Hobbs Little White Lies Review

    “My expectations were not only justified but they were not high enough. Red White & Blue is phenomenal and a must see film of 2010.” Craig Skinner HeyUGuys Review

    “Engrossing, moving and terrifying by turns, Simon Rumley’s fifth feature is a fantastically atmospheric slice of Americana, a beautifully scripted character drama, a horrifying revenge thriller and ultimately even a profoundly affecting love story.” Kurt Halfyard Twitch Review

    “Five minutes into RED, WHITE & BLUE, I knew I was watching something truly special.” Chris Bumbray Arrow in the Head Review

    “Red White & Blue is slow-burn thriller from Simon Rumley that’s sure to leave you with your jaw on the ground.” Brad Miska Bloody Disgusting Review

    “While it’s hard to say you’ll enjoy it, you’ll definitely come out of RED WHITE & BLUE affected in some way. As I wrote earlier, Rumley is one hell of a filmmaker, one who should be getting much more exposure. If you’re a fan of heavy, difficult cinema, you’d do well by seeking him and RED WHITE & BLUE out.” Fangoria Review


***

Danger After Dark 2010 Reviews

    “Red White and Blue is the British directed, Austin set Audition for 2010 and I mean that in the best way possible. As challenging as the film may be, I expect it to slowly gather a devout audience that’s going to turn this into an iconic cult item in the years to come through word of mouth.”

    Read the full indiemaker Twitch Review

***

Boston Underground Film Festival 2010 Reviews

    “… not for the weak of heart.” Jay Seaver eFilmCritic Review

***

SXSW 2010 Reviews

    “So beware. RED, WHITE & BLUE can possibly break your brain. Is your brain strong enough? Your psyche healthy enough? Because if it is, there is an extremely powerful and emotional film experience there for you to see.” Harry Knowles Ain’t It Cool News Review

    “Shot in and around Austin, this film makes quite a lot out of very little. This is low budget film making at its finest. Built entirely around ideas and characters rather than flashy edits or splashy horror effects, this film will take you on a journey to some dark and bitter places and you will come out on the other side very effected – one way or the other.” Massawyrm Ain’t It Cool News Review

    “Gut-twisting and soul-troubling, Simon Rumley’s latest film fires a stun gun into the heart of horror.” Peter Martin Twitch Review

    “So while Rumley’s Red, White & Blue is in no way a “fun time” horror film, it is absolutely a ferocious and fascinating piece of independent filmmaking.” Scott Weinberg FEARnet Review

    “It is not spiteful; it is not hateful; but it is beautiful in a supremely unnerving, macabre way. Red, White & Blue does not just get under your skin, it flays it from your very bones.”Peter Hall Horror Squad Review

    “Red, White & Blue remains an impressive achievement on many levels, a product by a director in control of his characters, story in mood, matched by (two) great performances. Simon Rumley is a name to look out for.” Landon Palmer Film School Rejects Review

    “With his follow-up to the cult 2006 effort The Living and the Dead, writer-director Rumley has made a startling, incredibly powerful film, a terrifying portrait of brutality, and a sensitive character study all at once.” Todd Gilchrist ShockTillYouDrop.com Review

    “… a masterful piece of storytelling from a filmmaker on the rise.” Tim Anderson Bloody Disgusting Review

    “… a seriously well-made movie.” Rochefort Quiet Earth Review

    “… Simon Rumley is far more interested in experimenting with form than pleasing genre classicists.” Matt Singer IFC Review

    “… deeply affecting, on an emotional and visual level.” Britt Hayes Brutal as Hell Review

***

2010 International Film Festival Rotterdam Reviews

    “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.” Screen International Review

    “Engrossing, moving and terrifying by turns, Simon Rumley’s fifth feature is a fantastically atmospheric slice of Americana, a beautifully scripted character drama, a horrifying revenge thriller and ultimately even a profoundly affecting love story.” Eight Rooks at Twitch

    “Meanwhile, “Red White & Blue” continues to haunt me with its staggering combo of psychological insight, visceral brutality, and sophisticated shifts in temporal structure. His British film “The Living and the Dead” was impressive enough, throwing off any illusions of stability in a fading artistocrat’s stately home, but the new film is much ballsier.” Howard Feinstein at indieWIRE

    “The first half is pure montage, foregoing slick visuals so the characters’ personalities, coupled with a disturbing stillness, take root. Especially good is the sound design, in which brutal moments go mute, replaced by gentle music.” Jay Weissberg at Variety

    “It’s a film of two chapters that differ wildly in tone: the first is observational and gently revealing, the second is frenetic and violent. It’s a chilling film, part character study, part thriller…” Dave Calhoun at Time Out

    “‘Red, White & Blue’ is a tight little thriller which looks great, is interestingly scripted and structured, and most of all features stellar acting. The real revelations here are Amanda Fuller as a major talent to keep in sight, and Noah Taylor who through his role as Nate summersaults straight into my shortlist of favorite actors.” Ard Vijn at Twitch

    “Red White & Blue proves that the horror genre can be a suitable vehicle for scathing political commentary.” Richard Porton at Cineaste

    “Noah Taylor and Amanda Fuller don’t just look the part. They are the part.” Michael Tully at Hammer to Nail

    “Iron strong. If you during the International Film Festival Rotterdam just time for a movie, let it be this. Prophete Un, Dial M for Murder, Soul Boy and Valhalla Rising, which also run all great films. But Red White & Blue is just better. Point.” Movie Sense | Google Translation

    “A surprisingly good horror movie.” Cultuurblog at NRC Review (some spoilers) | Google Translation

 

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