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“Red White and Blue,” Reviewed

“Red White and Blue,” Reviewed (photo)

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This review, which is appearing as part of our coverage of Fantastic Fest 2010, originally ran during the 2010 SXSW Film Festival.

“Red White & Blue” is sort of like a slasher movie in which every character functions as both the killer and the prey. The film has three protagonists; all of them victims, all of them guilty. Everyone is wronged. Everyone, in turn, commits wrongs in retaliation.

Like its title, the film has three parts, one for each protagonist. First, we meet Erica (Amanda Fuller), who spends night after night sleeping with an endless parade of anonymous hookups. She’ll sleep with anyone, it seems, but only once, and only if she doesn’t know them. Clearly troubled, she’s deeply suspicious of anyone who is kind to her, even the patient, polite Iraq war vet who lives in the same co-op as she does and who gets her a job at the hardware store where he works.

His name is Nate (Noah Taylor) and while he clearly takes pity on Erica, there are signs that he, too, is not mentally well — by way of explaining his kindness toward Erica, he tells an unsettling story from his childhood that involved remorselessly torturing animals. The third lead is Franki (Marc Senter), a musician in the Austin music scene with a cancer-stricken mother. His one-night stand with Erica in the beginning of the film leads to a major discovery that throws all three characters on tilt for the rest of the movie.

The story that explodes from these three characters’ confrontations bears certain resemblances to other slasher films and even to torture porn, but director Simon Rumley is far more interested in experimenting with form than pleasing genre classicists. One of his most provocative choices is the use of unconventional montage editing, particularly in the opening sequence that establishes Erica’s promiscuous routine. He cuts from establishing shots right into the middle of scenes, then cuts away again after two or three lines of dialogue. The unusual rhythms never let the audience grow comfortable; the result is a near subliminal sense of discomfort that builds slowly, minute by minute.

03222010_RedWhiteBlue2.jpgEven at the end of the film, when “Red White & Blue” builds towards a killer crescendo after one character goes hunting for another and the story begins to more closely resemble a more traditional horror film, Rumley still refuses to concede to gory expectations. In fact, the camera, which glimpses the violence but never wallows in it, seems as unsettled by the gore as we are.

There are numerous visual allusions to the stars and stripes in “Red White & Blue;” a flag that hangs outside a character’s house, another on the back of one character’s vest. Given that title, the flag motif, and Nate’s status as a deranged veteran and possible undercover agent for the CIA, should the film be seen as a statement about something intrinsically violent in the American spirit? All these characters have is an ongoing cycle of tragedy and retribution. We use those colors — red, white, and blue — to describe our flag, but also in phrases like “blood red,” “white hot anger,” and “black and blue bruises.” They may be American colors. They may also be the colors of violence.

“Red White and Blue” is available on demand from IFC Midnight for the next month.

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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