RED, WHITE & BLUE
Rumley takes you aback considerably during the opening scenes as he serves us up several sex scenes, which are not so much raw but are made all the more effective by their matter-of-factness and Rumleys abrupt editing cuts. What strikes you most about Red, White & Blue is how it works as a film of condensed narrative. Rumley directs in fragments, shows us only parts of a scene or intersperses the full scene with other things that seem at diametric oppose to what is happening. We are left to infer the whole of the story in a scene from what is happening Amanda Fuller gives Noah Taylor a note as to why she wont get involved with him but we are never privy to what is written on the note; he later asks her I got this real crazy question I got to ask you but we never hear what that question is. (Although you can make an educated guess as to what the answers were from information later in the film).
What also surprises you about Red, White & Blue is how Simon Rumley, a Britisher, gets such a searing portrait of rural Texas. In this, he is considerably aided by fine performances from the principals. In particular, Noah Taylor, a British actor usually seen in light and comedy roles and not someone you would immediately think of when it comes to casting an Iraq War vet, does a fine job of subsuming himself into a hick accent. Also of note is Marc Senter, who did a fine showing as the amok teen killer in The Lost (2005), who opens his character up to Amanda Fuller in surprising and unexpected ways.
The film is constantly surprising you with where Rumley is taking it the relationship that slowly grows between Noah Taylor and Amanda Fuller; Marc Senter and friends abducting Amanda Fuller where we are expecting him to do something nasty, only for him to suddenly turn around and propose to her, which then goes wildly sideways ending with her tied up in his living room. Up until about this point fully two-thirds of the film, there is nothing about Red, White & Blue that suggests it is a horror film.
Thereafter though, the film goes off into demented genre territory. [PLOT SPOILERS]. Noah Taylor who has been sidelined and forgotten about during Amanda Fullers abduction reappears and the film turns into something along the lines of a Death Wish (1974)-styled vigilante film. There is the disturbing scene as Taylor ties up Jon Michael Daviss wife and daughter and then waits for him to return home with the added shock of him finding a body in the trunk of the car whereupon he sets out to ruthlessly extract information, stabbing the daughter in the leg and asking her to make a choice between whether she wants to live after he kills her parents or be killed along with them. This is followed by his going to kill the other members of the band, with the film climaxing on a nastily graphic scene where he skins Marc Senter with a hunting knife.
Red, White & Blue is a disturbing film. It is a film that says troubling things about the human condition in the way that women are used sexually by men; of the psychopathology lurking not far beneath the surface of Iraq War veterans, if not rural Texas itself. Indeed, the only person who seems vaguely likeable in the film is the one who conducts the most extreme actions tortures a bunch of people to death.