The first film from a Dogme-esque manifesto (Dogme 95 being a restrictive, avant-garde set of aesthetic ‘rules’ championed by director Lars von Trier, amongst others). The concept here is for three directors to make films based on a group of characters developed by Danish filmmakers Lone Scherfig and Anders Thomas Jensen. The films must be set in Scotland, and the same actors play their characters throughout.
Red Road follows a Glaswegian CCTV operator Jackie (Dickie). While watching the monitors she spies dodgy local man Clyde (Curran) – a man from her past, recently released from prison. Curiously, she starts stalking him...
Best Newcomer (director Andrea Arnold), BAFTAs 2007. Jury Prize winner, Cannes 2006.
Sensual, dark in every sense, but a touch derivative, "Red Road" reps an impressive feature debut for Brit writer-helmer Andrea Arnold... Given its unflinching take on femme sexuality and expressionist visuals, comparisons with work by Jane Campion ("In the Cut") and Lynne Ramsay (Morvern Callar").
Taking a page perhaps from the Dogma "vows of chastity," that restrictive aesthetic code for filmmaking laid down several years ago by a group of European directors, is a new project called Advance Party. The concept is for three directors to write and shoot scripts based on a group of characters developed by Lone Scherfig and Anders Thomas Jensen. All stories must be set in Scotland and the roles will be cast with the same actors in each film. The first film, "Red Road" by Andrea Arnold, is a nervy and taut thriller in which a woman stalks a man whose past sin is only made clear at the end of the film. Where the series goes from here is anybody's guess, but "Red Road" certainly gets this intriguing project off to a rousing start.
Among an impressive acting line-up, including young stars Martin Compston and Nathalie Press, the little-known Dickie is the undoubted standout. In virtually every frame, she gives a raw, emotionally charged, yet amazingly restrained performance that is compelling at every turn of this top- notch thriller.
Making her feature debut, Dickie suffuses Jackie's story with angst. She has few lines, but she doesn't need words, her expressive face emoting every nuance as she watches Clyde on CCTV then gradually insinuates her way into his life. Writer/director Andrea Arnold keeps us hooked, eerie surveillance footage scored by an ambient soundtrack of clangs, rumbles and whistles promising dark twists that Red Road never quite delivers on (an awkward payoff is particularly disappointing).