Red Rocket

Red Rocket ★★★★½

“He sucker-punched me! I would a hundred percent out-cardiod that guy. Fuck. Sorry for swearing. Shit just got out of control. I came this fucking close to getting shot. This fucking close.”

Red Rocket (2021) is an excellent companion piece to a film like Uncut Gems (2019). In fact this entire movie feels just like a film from the Safdie Brothers, it is filled with their energy. One hundred percent unbridled stress and anxiety-induced cinema that’ll make you uncomfortable for the entire runtime.

Simon Rex is absolutely stellar, he single-handedly elevates this film to another level just with his acting alone. Aside from Uncut Gems (2019), another apt comparison that I’ve heard is that this movie is sort of the Of Mice and Men of this generation, except Mikey is both George and Lennie. I don’t remember who said it, but kudos to whoever made that connection.

The main character is so irritating, annoying, and extremely morally reprehensible. You hate him so much that you are uncomfortable the entire runtime. He’s a complete and totally deplorable human being, and his character and all his actions had me absolutely enthralled from the opening frame to the final one. 

The film continuously builds so much intensity to unhinged proportions, the main character just keeps on digging himself into a much deeper hole as the film goes on because that’s just the way he is. He just can’t help himself. So much so that you just want to reach into the screen, scream at him, slap him upside the head, teach him a lesson, and set him straight but you can’t. It’s absolutely tense and anxiety-inducing.

And then eventually the film and the character reach a boiling/breaking point, and everything in the film builds to that moment at the end beautifully. Trust me, you will never hear NSYNC’s Bye Bye Bye the same way ever again.

You’ll feel sick to your stomach on this absolute rollercoaster of a film, in a very good way. It’s a very uncomfortable and challenging film on both a moral and intellectual level in all the absolute best ways possible. 

Red Rocket (2021) is yet another certified banger from Sean Baker. Not as good as The Florida Project (2017), but still excellent nonetheless.

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