Jackie works as a CCTV operator. Each day she watches over a small part of the world, protecting the people living their lives under her gaze. One day a man appears on her monitor, a man she thought she would never see again, a man she never wanted to see again. Now she has no choice, she is compelled to confront him.
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Whilst working as a CCTV operator in Glasgow's working-class Red Road estate, Jackie sees a face from the past, a face that she thought would no longer haunt her dreams. Keeping her distance, and with the use of her CCTV cameras, she follows the face and the man and she finally decides to confront him. It is here that past lives are once again entwined and reconciliations are aired. Written by
Red Road is the first of three films made at the behest of The Advance Party, a Danish project inspired by Lars von Trier, who challenged Arnold and two other new directors to create films with the same group of characters. See more »
The video screens in the surveillance centre do not show the date and time, which would severely limit their usefulness as filmed evidence in real life. The date and time have clearly been disabled to avoid continuity errors in filming. The 'shadow' of the numbers is however visible. See more »
[seeing Jackie for the first time]
Have we met?
Yeah, I saw you at a cafe.
Right. At a cafe.
[Clyde takes Jackie's hand and they both start to dance]
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I saw the trailer of this a few weeks ago and some of the mysterious and bleak nature of the shorts clips prompted that little voice inside me, saying " you won't be comfortable with it, but see it." I wasn't and I did.
The plot unravels slowly with little hints as to its central theme dotted about sensitively. It has you asking the question, what has happened to Jackie? How does this figure Clyde she has recognised and recoiled from on the CCTV monitors at work impacted on her lonely and monochrome life ? The answers come quite slowly as she puts her head into the lion's jaws of proximity to this danger man. A bit like the pantomime responses I felt like saying, " No, don't go any closer,he's behind you; you'll be recognised.", failing to recognise myself that something in her wants exactly that. In fact she receives from him perversely, what no viewer might possibly expect, but then she has us asking, is this payback time ? I'm not telling you, see the film ! The unfinished business Jackie has with Clyde is what this film is about.
The raw,down-at-heel, desperate, littered, high rise and windy Glasgow streets and housing estates as the backdrop. Ordinary everyday people get on with their lives oblivious of the drama being enacted in Jackie's life and culminating in an protracted showdown. But this is not the end. No, for all the unresolved grief, anger, erotic fascination and damaged lives, there remains a hope born of the unlikely. The film leads you away from the possibility, but ultimately there is life after death in Red Road. No cheering music soundtrack intrudes to romanticise what cannot possibly yield to only to the mawkish. There is just silence, sounds of the street, machinery, public transport and some well chosen tracks to create mood when required. This is what the vintage among us identify as continental cinema, no wonder they loved it at Cannes. This is not a film for audiences to remain detached from; the sheer intimacy of the camera work and the evolving personal destinies involved get you involved too, uncomfortably. A home grown vignette of humanity wrestling with the s..t that regularly happens !
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