January 31, 2013 by CINEfaction Movie Review.
Red State is bloated, misled, ham fisted, excessive tripe. How someone could make something so blunt and laughable from such horrifying subject matter is completely beyond me. Smith has totally missed the point of what makes this topic so troubling and instead made a hot headed, wordy mess.
As people have previously stated Michael Parks is OK as the insane, gun toting leader of the church, his Tarantino style ramblings are never quite coherent or interesting but none the less well performed. Sadly, the usually reliable John Goodman is horribly miscast as a generic, well meaning but pressured FBI agent, his performance often borders on parody. But the real problem here is clearly the writing. Smith, who prides himself on being a storyteller, has crafted a screenplay so full of hyperbolic bile you rarely have time to think about the reality of the situations both cinematically and in everyday life. The film would have been better served taking its ques from the actual events both with the much maligned Westboro baptist church and the horrific Jonestown massacre. Had he done this he would’ve surely made something that would have been at the very least engaging, instead of this pretentious and inflammatory nonsense. These days that’s what Smith is all about, creating a smoke screen to mask his inadequacies as a filmmaker. Here he substitutes substance for guns, emotion for swearing and social comment for cheap and nasty thrills.
This movie is an embarrassment for all concerned.