Redlands follows the pointless intertwining story of three very different artists in California. First we are introduced to Vienna (Fox), a nude model who is trying to make a name for herself. Somehow, she has come to the conclusion that to make herself famous she just needs to have anyone with a camera snap her picture. That is how she comes to meets Allan (Morts), a newly divorced wannabe photographer, who comes off as an excessively creepy man whose awkwardness is painful, to say the least. The last, and definitely least interesting and developed character, Zack (Brittan), is Vienna’s indie rocker boyfriend, who really acts more like her pimp, and is nothing less than human garbage, as he uses phrases like “motion lotion” instead of gas, cheats on his girlfriend and gets off on choking girls.
First time writer director John Brian King, who is known for title designing films like Boogie Nights and The Green Mile, to name a few, has made something exceptionally awkward here. The film is beautifully shot with a handful of stationary and unnervingly long takes that track these characters’ arbitrary life moments. The collection of moments, that I can only assume should build to an entertaining or enjoyable story, actually ends up amounting to nothing more than a random and meaningless assortment of moments that tell you nothing important about any characters.
While I can appreciate the work that goes into acting and filming a handful of uncut ten minute scenes, they only seem to draw the film out and make it feel like it is inching along. Throw in the fact that what is being said and done in the scenes adds nothing to the bland characters, nor meaning to their story, and you will realize that not even the best actors in the world could improve the film. In regard to the actual actors in the film, only Morts stood out to me when it came to the film's acting. His portrayal as Allan feels forced and unnerving for the majority of his scenes, but at the film's climax the reasoning becomes clear. Fox seldom feels natural or authentic and Brittan’s character is so useless, I don’t understand why he had his own storyline.
Ultimately, it is the film’s script that is the downfall here. It tries to be complex and show these three artists interact with each other, but in actuality, Vienna ends up taking most of the screen time. Her beauty is obvious, and I can only assume she became the focal point to offset how horrible the other two lead characters are, but the film could have really benefited from turning the focus completely on Alan. Tracking his journey with greater depth could have made this first time outing from King really special.
Review by Andy Comer
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