'Red State' Examiner Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello
While the United States has made large strides in recent years towards expanding the rights of the homosexual community, including six states legalizing same sex marriage and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, there are still Americans who judge, and discriminate against, people based on their sexuality. Writer-director Kevin Smith surprisingly heavily focuses on the controversial subject in his horror film ‘Red State,’ which is now available to rent on DVD at select Long Island Red Box locations. The genre isn’t generally known for focusing on social commentary, but the movie does a respectable job of showcasing the different perspectives on the important issue.
‘Red State’ follows teenager Travis (played by New York native Michael Angarano) and his friends, Jared (portrayed by Kyle Gallner) and Billy Ray (played by Nicholas Braun), as they accept an invitation from Sarah Cooper (portrayed by fellow New Yorker Melissa Leo), a woman they meet on a sex Web site to have group sex. They borrow Travis’ parent’s car to meet her, and along the way, they accidentally sideswipe Sheriff Wynan’s (played by Stephen Root) vehicle. The boys drive away, afraid of the consequences of the accident, and continue to Sarah’s trailer.
Once the teens arrive at Sarah’s trailer, she drugs all three of them, and when they wake up, they realize they’ve been brought to Five Points Church. The congregation, led by Abin Cooper (portrayed by Michael Parks), strongly opposes homosexuality and anything else that goes against the teachings of the Bible. Abin tells his followers to kill Travis, Jared and Billy Ray for wanting to engage in group sex.
After one of Wynan’s deputies searches for, and finds, Travis’ car at the Five Points compound, he’s subsequently shot by Abin. The sheriff then calls ATF Agent Joseph Keenan (played by John Goodman) for backup. After a shootout erupts and goes awry on the compound, Joseph follows his bosses’ orders to kill all witnesses, in an effort to keep the reputation of the ATF intact.
The action horror thriller once again shows Smith’s great satirical take on the important issues plaguing America today. Even though the Five Points Church is only half an hour away from the Bible Belt town Travis, Jared and Billy Ray live in, both sides have completely different views on morals and ethics, particularly in terms of sexuality. The writer-director wasn’t afraid to patronize the radical beliefs of the church, showing Abin’s followers as a closed-minded family that chooses not to accept people as they are, no matter whom they love.
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