Monday 12 September 2011
Case ID Red State
Patient Name Kevin Smith
Preliminary Diagnosis Tarantinoitis
Patient History Patient is known largely for indie comedy but appreciates horror. Patient has expressed frustration with the studio system and mainstream film production, but enjoys success as a filmmaker and an actor. In this Referee's opinion, Patient's greatest accomplishment is Dogma which exhibits a maturity of subject matter and competency in script not present in his earlier work.
Case History Red State is not dissimilar to Dogma in that it deals with themes of Sex, Religion, and Politics. Red State's themes are embodied by the characters of The Boys, The Preacher and His Flock, and The Authorities. Red State opens on The Boys and follows their sexual misadventure which brings them into contact with The Preacher and His Flock. The Preacher and His Flock have a reputation for gross intolerance, and The Boys learn first hand just how hateful these people are.
The Authorities are aware of The Preacher and His Flock, and through an unfortunate series of events, they are forced to confront one another. The situation escalates into a shoot-out between The Authorities and The Preacher and His Flock, with no satisfactory resolution for either side.
Observed Symptoms Red State exhibits lengthy monologues and prolonged dialogues, and abrupt shifts in focus and tone. For too long The Boys discuss their upcoming date, and The Preacher pontificates excessively to His Flock. The resulting stall in story causes the audience to disengage, and the experience is akin to the impatience effected by Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof. This is not to suggest Patient is incapable of writing good dialogue, there is simply too much of it. To Patient's credit, dialogue is limited during action sequences.
Red State's trifecta of themes nearly matches the film's three part structure. Sex begins with The Boys and overlaps slightly with The Preacher and His Flock. When The Boys arrive in the care of The Preacher and His Flock, Religion becomes the predominant theme. Sex and Religion are usurped by Politics when The Authorities enter the story and gain narrative control.
Red State's resolution, or denouement, is told entirely from the point of view of The Authorities. Immediately prior to the denouement, the story experiences a moment of insanity in which characters and audience alike are forced to question reality. It is Red State's finest moment and best exemplifies Patient's creativity.
Recommendation It is the recommendation of this Referee that Patient engage in increased script editing in the future. Increased editing will significantly improve the pacing and enjoyment of Patient's films. Patient is encouraged to continue to explore chapter- or episodic storytelling but should refrain from abrupt, jarring, or otherwise unstructured transitions in narrative voice and point of view.