Eye for an Eye, Tooth for a Tooth… but when does the cycle of revenge end? Writer/Director Simon Rumley tells the tale of revenge in the 2010 independent film Red White & Blue. The film begins with Erica, a lost young woman who takes on all comers as she sleeps her way through the majority of the first third of the film. Erica, played boldly by Amanda Fuller lives in a halfway house and makes up for her lack of funds by helping out around the facility. As I mentioned, early one the film is about her in bars, drinking and meeting different men, and sleeping with them. She seems to have no preference or limitations as to what she’s willing to do.
Not long after she’s meets Nate played by Noah Taylor. Nate is a guarded, quiet man and he immediately is drawn to her. He gets her a job at a hardware store and while it seems clear the two like each other, Erica continues to sleep with other co-workers at the store. Nate looks on longingly as he’s seemingly fallen in love with Erica but she stops his advances and will not sleep with him.
During her promiscuous time Erica meets and sleeps with Franki played by Marc Senter. Franki is an aspiring musician with a sick mother and father issues. His band has recently received news of potential business and the mother is in remission. Things seem to be going well for Franki until he gets the news that he’s HIV positive. Franki, devastated by the news, seeks out Erica and in a wonderful scene Erica describes how she intentionally passes on HIV to all the men that pick her up for those one night stands. Franki kidnaps her and kills her soon after. Things turn even worse for Franki as his mother commits suicide.
It’s at this point where the movie really turns. No longer is it a story about a young woman who is struggling to find her way in life. It quickly becomes a revenge film. Erica is getting revenge on the men that pick her up. Franki gets revenge on Erica and finally in the last third of the film, Nate gets revenge on everyone. The final third of the film is pretty horrific to watch. Nate mentions in the film that he’s been honorably discharged from the armed forces and later he states that he’s the man that’s brought in when torture doesn’t work. Nate takes his revenge on families, children, everyone associated with the death of Erica. The ending is well crafted and a bit of a surprise however, it is left a little ambiguous some may not get all that’s meant by the ending.
A couple of things about the film, Noah Taylor is fantastic in his role of Nate. His ability to play a shy, troubled, broken man, as well as playing a near psychopath is really something to behold. Amanda Fuller is solid in the film as well as it’s her raw unflattering performance that really sets up the film. I didn’t enjoy the performance of Franki by Marc Senter as much as the other two because I didn’t enjoy the character mostly and I think it’s a little bit on the childish side in the portrayal. While the film has a lot going on in it story wise, Simon Rumley is also very busy with the camera. There is a lot of style in the film and this was my main struggle with the film. There were many repetitive cuts in the film when something emotional would happen or when something important was about to take place. My problem with this was I wished the cuts had been even more frequent or not in there at all. Whenever I see a technique like this I think of Requiem for a Dream and how the repetitive nature of pill taking and the quick cuts of the camera is used so effectively. What we get here is not quite as bold with the camera as Requiem but bold enough so that it’s different from the normal film. What it amounts to is more of a question as to why they did it instead of it being effective. The film is a solid revenge flick but be prepared as some aspects of it are very disturbing and graphic.