I happened to be on twitter when Kevin Smith was promoting Red State, probably while he was still filming it. He tweeted about it incessantly, which, if nothing else, caused me to remember that it was his film.
And though I’ve had a complicated relationship with Kevin Smith films (I’ve yet to enjoy one) I figured I’d try this one out because I’d heard Kevin Smith was trying something new here.
So, yeah, Red State.
You know how some movies have good ideas that come out flawed? Well Red State comes across like a collection of flaws disguised as a movie. Much like Dogma, Red State is a “Kevin Smith Message Movie” which means that it’s about as subtle as an assault weapon.
There are some things that can be gleaned Red State. Firstly, Kevin Smith still isn’t a fan of religion. Much like Dogma attacked the Catholic Church, Red State goes after evangelicals by cast them as the villains.
But rather than attack them on merit, for their political power, homophobia or disbelief in science, Smith instead creates a cartoonish sect of murders for whom over the top isn’t quite high enough.
I get that Abin’s sermon is supposed to come across as crazy and scary, but really it’s just long and boring. It’s way too long and could probably have set the same mood and tone at half the time.
What’s funnier is that Abin’s preaching doesn’t even come close to how preachy the movie is. Kevin Smith doesn’t think that religion and guns make a good mix, which is something that’s readily apparent as the film progresses into a gun battle with the government. But of course the government equally a bad guy in the end.
And of course rather than allowing the viewer to come to the conclusion that religious extremists driven to violence are terrorists regardless of the religion, Smith has one of his characters to explicitly state it. Though, if I had Kevin Smith’s fanbase, I might do the same thing.
I’m trying to think of one redeeming thing that Red State offers. I suppose if you enjoy seeing actors spit out occasionally tolerable speeches, I guess Red State might be for you