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A nuanced story and mesmerizing performance make this a must see
Craig_McPherson16 July 2008
Brian Cox is ranked among the best character actors in the business. Yet, for all his talent, he's seldom chosen as a leading man, instead being called upon to fill supporting roles as far ranging as the original Hannibal Lecter (Manhunter) to William Wallace's dad in Bravehart and William Stryker in X2, the X-Men sequel, among only a few of his 134 roles thus far. So it comes as a bit of a surprise to see him handed the lead in Red, a mini-masterpiece of one man's quest for justice which screened at the 2008 edition of Montreal's Fantasia film festival.

Directed by Trygve Allister Diesen and Lucky McKee (May, The Woods), and based on a story by Jack Ketchum, Red tells the story of aging war vet Avery Ludlow (Cox), whose only remaining companion after a life of tragedy, a dog named Red, is brutally killed by a group of teens. Built upon a remarkably rich, layered and textured script by Stephen Susco (The Grudge), the story doesn't play out as your simple paint-by-numbers revenge thriller. Instead, it unfolds slowly and all too realistically as Ludlow seeks redress, not revenge, from the wealthy father of two of the boys (Tom Sizemore in full sleaze mode), only to be rebuffed by parents and legal channels alike. Even when these attempts fail, Ludlow, ever the civil citizen, tells his story to the local TV news, and launches a lawsuit against the killers.

Drawing parallels between teen dog killer Danny McCormack (Noel Fisher) and Ludlow's chilling account of how his own son single handedly destroyed his family, we're presented with a man whose motivation for justice is driven in large part by a belated attempt to right the wrongs of his past. So much so, in fact, that in the absence of his companion dog, the quest for justice virtually becomes Ludlow's reason for living, to the point where it practically consumes him.

Cox's performance here is nothing short of breathtaking. He carries this movie on his back and is in every scene, mesmerizing you with his nuanced portrayal of a lonely man to whom tragedy has bequeathed a host of inner demons to torment him in his twilight years.

Don't mistake Red for lesser fare such as Death Wish or The Brave One. While it is constructed around a fairly simple premise that on the surface appears primed to appeal to the base human desire for revenge, the story here is so much more than that, and to give it short shrift and dismiss it as mere manipulative movie making would be to miss out on a story and performance that is a true must see.
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The best adaptation of Jack Ketchum's novel so far.
HumanoidOfFlesh15 October 2008
Jack Ketchum's brilliant novel tells the story of an elderly man Avery Ludlow,who has a dog named Red he loves more than life.A simple lonely man he has few good things in his life after losing family members tragically years before.On the day he takes his dog fishing with him,three young boys come along,rob him and shoot his dog for no reason. After this cold-blooded murder he tries to seek justice,but two of the boys are coming from a rich and powerful family.Each thing he tries is thwarted until he takes matters into his own hand.The climatic outburst of violence is inevitable..."Red" is a slow-moving and meditative drama punctuated with sudden explosions of violence.The acting by Brian Cox is phenomenal,the supporting cast is also splendid.Overall,"Red" is a sad and beautiful story about a man and his dead dog.Thank You very much Lucky McKee and Trygwe Aliester Disen for such powerful piece of work.I have seen "The Girl Next Door" and "The Lost",but "Red" is the best adaptation of Ketchum to date.I'm glad that I saw it in the cinema during 2008 Warsaw Film Festival.
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Despite a few tweaks here and there, this was very faithful to the source novel and is definitely worth your time.
GrandpaBunche11 August 2008
After seeing the trailer for this a few weeks ago, I decided to read the source novel before going to the movie. Jack Ketchum's novel is a pretty taught thriller that stays very realistic in telling its tale of an old man's increasingly frustrating attempts to get justice for his senselessly murdered pooch, but the book does feature a gratuitous romantic entanglement and a final chapter that could have been completely excised with no loss of the story's narrative power; the final chapter goes on after the real climax to the story and is in fact more of an epilogue than a proper ending, but it unnecessarily gives the reader an all-too-tidy three-way happy ending with an incongruous bit of tragedy thrown in for good (?) measure. Thankfully the novel's problems were carefully considered and left out of the film, even to the point of losing or consolidating some of the minor characters with no harm done to the overall story.

This is a textbook example of exactly how to handle a novel-to-screen adaptation, and I'd wager that author Jack Ketchum is more than pleased with the translation. Brian Cox — always a consummate actor — turns in one of his best performances, and the whole cast is equally game, especially two of the boys involved in the attempted robbery and pet-slaying. And for those expecting a seventies-style vengeance flick filled with wall-to-wall guns-a-blazin', I'd advise you to check your expectations at the door. The pursuit of justice follows very legal steps until it's apparent that such an approach won't amount to anything, but even when it gets rough the story stays completely believable. One of the year's best films, and that's no lie.
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Red delivers in Spades
Nightmare-Maker11 October 2008
After reading lots of positive reviews on RED, I kind of knew it was going to be good..And it was.

It's kind of like the defender who plays well all season but does'nt get the player of the year award!

A brilliant film, but because it has'nt got special effects or a mega star cast it will not get the push it needs to hit the cinemas, but let me tell you. RED hits the spot.

It' about an oldish guy (played splendidly by Brian Cox) whose only buddy is his 14 year old dog called RED. One day out fishing with Red, three young guys turn up and harass him and eventually shoot Red dead.

So now Brian Cox' character wants justice, but two of the guys whose killed Reds' dad is the towns main man, Cox wants revenge!

Basically thats the plot, so simple, but so effective!

No blood and guts, No special effects...Just a brilliant film, no matter what genre you like. You just can't not like this film.
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A Man, His Dog and His Quest For Justice
claudio_carvalho27 April 2009
While fishing in Miller's Band with his dog Red, the lonely widower and owner of a small general store Avery Ludlow (Brian Cox) is surrounded by three teenage thieves seeking money and without any reason, one of them shoots Red on the head. Avery investigates the empty cartridge and finds the owner of the shotgun Danny McCormack (Noel Fisher), his brother Harold (Kyle Gallner) and their friend Pete Doust (Shiloh Fernandez). Avery seeks out Danny's father Michael McCormack (Tom Sizemore) that is a corrupt businessman expecting excuses and punishment for the boys, but he finds an arrogant man that does not pay attention to his complaints about the cruelty of Danny to his dog. He decides to sue Danny using his friend and lawyer Sam Berry (Richard Riehle), but Mr. McCormack uses his political influence to obstruct justice. The reporter Carrie Donnel (Kim Dickens) makes a program for TV showing the cruelty of the offender and how justice does not work, but again Mr. McCormack affects her work. However, Avery does not give up of his quest for justice.

Yesterday I saw the trailer of "Red" and I liked what I saw, so I decided to watch this movie expecting to see a sort of "Death Wish". However the story is a powerful drama with a complex lead character performed by the veteran Brian Cox. In this regard, it is great to see the quest for justice of an old man against the corrupt system ruled by money and influence. The cast is superb, with Noel Fisher perfect in the role of the mean Danny, and Tom Sizemore in an awesome performance in the role of the patriarch of a dysfunctional family. Unfortunately the conclusion is not well resolved and quite pointless. The Brazilian title misleads the viewer, giving a wrong idea of the plot. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Rastros de Vingança" ("Tracks of Revenge")
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An engaging and emotional film that is much better than the "taking law into own hands" genre that the plot suggests it belongs in
bob the moo26 December 2008
Avery Ludlow is retired and has little left in his life but for his dog, his store and his health. He finds simple pleasures in the peace of his life and all the companionship he needs from his dog, Red. Out fishing one day he a trio of teenagers come across him and politely start to trouble him and essentially intimidate money out of him. The leader of the three has a rifle and, for his own reasons, he leaves Avery with a parting gift of shooting Red dead. Avery is grief-stricken and tracks down the teenagers, going direct to the main boy's father to let him deal with it in a manner that will satisfy Avery. However this fails so Avery tries other legal means to get justice for this wrong, however his persistence in this matter makes it a bigger deal for the well-connected family of the man boy.

On the face of it this is a revenge thriller where a man seeks justice and continues to do so even as events escalate – in fact, not only on the face of it but indeed that is the narrative arch we are looking at here, no point is pretending to be surprised by it, we all know where we are going with this from when we got on board. However it walks a very impressive line while doing this that prevents it being about the revenge but instead the justice sought, or rather the undefined "action" that Avery seeks someone to hand him that will in some way make up for his loss. This is very well presented because it is clear throughout that ultimately nothing can fill that gap – which is part of the reason things continue to build. I very much liked how it did this as it never fell into violence at the expense of the emotional part of the story and it thus keeps it much more engaging than if it had simply because a violent revenge thriller.

Some have said that this is a film for dog lovers as they will appreciate the loss most but I do not think that is true. Although Red is the subject of the loss, it is about more than the dog but also what the dog represents to Avery – and as this comes out the scale of his pain and his loss is more engaging and moving. This general feeling of something emotionally valuable being taken unfairly by another is a raw emotion in the film and it was very well done. True it helps to understand the loyal companionship a dog gives a man but even if you don't, the emotion is real and convincing enough to hook you. Praise to Cox for making this work because he is the heart of the film and is the reason we care as much as we do. You can see what attracted him as an actor because the script gives him plenty to work with, including a strong ending that is another part of the film being about the main character's feelings rather than the act of revenge/justice. He acts all others off the screen and the only downside is that everyone else feels weaker than they actually are by comparison.

I thought Fisher and Gallner were both good even if there was room for them to find more of their character and bring it out in ways that were not in the script. Gallner probably does this best as so much of his mannerisms and body language tell you about his place in that family and how he feels his father views him. Sizemore isn't asked to do much but does it fairly well and is a good presence. Riedle, Englund, Plummer, The Wire's Williams and others all give solid accounts of themselves but everyone knows that, while they have lines, Cox has the real character of the piece and mostly they deliver the goods in support without ever shining for more. Considering the budget the film looks great with impressive cinematography and selection/use of locations. You can see where things are implied rather than shown due to money constraints but these do not matter at all and are well done.

Red is not a cheerful film, not is it one that has a "big" ending or impacting telling. Rather it is a patient and slower film that engages thanks to the convincing core of emotion that drives all the action; without this it could have been a simple and emotionally distant revenge thriller. Cox does excellent work to bring this out and produces the goods from the start right to the final scene, while all the others turn in performances that are solidly good. An engaging and emotional film that is much better than the "taking law into own hands" genre that the plot suggests it belongs in.
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Red is Gold (figuratively speaking, of course)
daniel-17592 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The movie is called Red, and it's currently in limited release in theaters, which means it's nowhere near theaters in my beloved Charlotte, NC. Red was available locally though to order via pay-per-view for a slightly higher than normal price, but I figured, what the heck, it's cheaper than driving to the theater and buying a ticket.

Red stars the great actor Brian Cox (The Bourne Supremacy) as Av Ludlow, a sullen widower and veteran who takes the afternoon off from his country store in an unidentified mountain town and goes fishing with old dog named Red. The peaceful fishing trip turns sour when Ludlow is visited by three teens out hunting, and their proxy leader, Danny (Noel Fisher) decides to rob the old man. Ludlow does not resist, but when he has nothing of value, Danny shoots Red out of sheer spite.

Ludlow buries Red, and goes about finding the boys who killed his beloved dog. When Ludlow finds who Danny is, he goes to the boy's father, a rich man named McCormack (Tom Sizemore), who believes his son's denials rather than the old man's claims. Ludlow wants justice and an apology, but when he doesn't get it he goes to the local sheriff, an old friend (Richard Riehle – the guy who invented the "jump to conclusions mat" in Office Space), who can't convince anyone to prosecute the powerful McCormack kid.

Things escalate when the sheriff recommends that Ludlow tell his story to a local TV reporter (Kim Dickens) to put public pressure on the D.A. to press charges. Ludlow agrees, and after the piece airs a series of escalating retaliations begin as Ludlow and the McCormacks come closer to impending tragedy. A rock is thrown through Ludlow's window, Ludlow begins to follow the teenagers, and that's the tip of the iceberg.

The story unfolds on a small scale, at an unhurried pace. Nothing feels staged or inauthentic, even the ultimate showdown.

There are a lot of elements at play in Red, and it's not just about cruelty to animals, though that message is part of it. The TV reporter who does a feature on Ludlow states in the piece: "It has been said that the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be measured by the way it treats its animals." While Ludlow certainly is defending the rights of his dog who couldn't defend himself, there is no implication that the dog's life is more valuable than the life of the perpetrators, which I have to appreciate. Not that killing a dog isn't a despicable thing worthy of punishment, it's just that during the recent Michael Vick dog-fighting scandal I was dismayed by how many people seemed to regard the crime as worse than murder or rape. It's not.

Ludlow's affection to his dog is in part due to the fact that Red was a gift from his late wife. The scene where Ludlow tells the reporter what happened to his wife and two sons is genuinely heartbreaking. It's a lengthy speech delivered by Cox in a low-key, melancholy fashion that is utterly riveting, shown without visual flashback gimmicks that may have been tempting to the dual directors (Lucky McKee and Trygve Allister Diesen).

Ludlow's dogged (if you pardon the expression) stand is motivated primarily by wanting justice rather than revenge. When the sheriff suggests he can file a civil suit against the McCormacks, Ludlow is dismayed because that would only win him money. Danny has committed a crime, and if he won't admit it and ask forgiveness Ludlow will accept nothing less than justice.

I loved Red, though I don't expect everyone will embrace it. If you liked the pointless though flashy Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, you'll probably hate Red. Red is a drama without a major star; the action occurs in sudden, bursts of violence; and there aren't any particularly happy characters. This isn't fun escapism, it's a serious, tense, meditative drama.

Brian Cox is terrific in the lead. Cox has been a marvelous actor for a long time, the man who actually portrayed Hannibal Lecter before Anthony Hopkins in the 1986 Michael Mann film Manhunter. If you don't know Cox's name, you will recognize his face when you see it – he's provided strong supporting roles in such films as Red Eye (no relation to Red), X-Men 2, 25th Hour, Long Kiss Goodnight, and countless others. Given a rare opportunity to be the star, Cox delivers a performance worthy Academy Award consideration for Best Actor.

This is a great movie, easily the best I've seen since the Dark Knight.

–Daniel J. Roos (
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Worth watching
Juggertrout23 July 2008
The combination of Brian Cox and Tom Sizemore in a film based upon a Jack Ketchum novel (bizarrely spelled Jack Ketchmum in the trailer) and the direction of cult-courting Lucky McKee certainly peaked my interest and therefore I awarded this film some of my time. The premise was something that also appealed to me - a kind of "Falling Down" but with a more mediative, Western styling.

The story is a simple but, on the surface, a powerful one. Brian Cox is Avery Ludlow, a veteran who hides his tortuous family history behind his love for his faithful dog, Red. One day while fishing, he is approached by three delinquents who try to rob him. Realising that he lacks anything of worth, the cocky leader of the pack, Danny, shoots dead his dog, laughs about it with his brother and friend, and then walks off. Ludlow is determined to get justice, but finds hurdles at every stage, from the boy's arrogant father, to a reluctant town sheriff.

The acting in this film was excellent. Brian Cox is superb as the graceful recluse seeking justice. He plays his role in a remarkably understated manner that compliments his experience and wisdom. Whether he is brutally taking on the perpetrators or solemnly reminiscing about the tragic circumstances that led to his wife and son's death, Cox is brilliant at making us feel a warm empathy with him, and makes us want to join him on his quest for justice. Kudos must also be given to Tom Sizemore, who is wonderfully repugnant as Michael McCormack, the arrogant, millionaire father of Danny the delinquent. He really does shine and show what a great actor he can be when he is not in trouble for one reason or another. It would be fair to say that he is much better at eliciting disgust than Cox is at eliciting empathy (although this is a much easier task) and his evolution from his first meeting with Cox, to the final showdown is a joy to watch and anticipate.

The other actors play their parts competently. I was a bit apprehensive about Noel Fisher as Danny at first, as he was guilty of slight overacting in his first scene. However, upon finishing the film, the acting style perfectly complimented his role as a narcissistic youth with no empathy, and overall he was very good in the film. Kyle Gallner, who plays his shy brother, and Shiloh Fernandez as his equally minded friend are also good, with Gallner excelling in the film's climax. The other major part is that of reporter Carrie Donnel, played by Kim Dickens. She is not bad in her role but it is entirely unnecessary, which brings me on to the film's flaw - it's script.

The film really does shine when there are scenes of direct confrontation. Anything between Cox and Fisher after their first meeting, or anything with Sizemore. The film really does suffer when the action is diverted to scenes of a more meditative nature. Donnel's role is far too over played, and her emergence as some sort of bizarre is she/isn't she love interest at the end severely harms the movie. The only things that ties the two together is Cox's consistently brilliant acting. His monologue on how his family fell apart is beautiful and haunting, with the camera lingering on his wise yet hurt face. Likewise, he is respectably sinister in his pursuit of justice, and the film really picks up pace in the final third, building to an excellent climax involving Cox, Sizemore, and his family. Indeed, after a slow, slightly turgid middle, this comes as a great relief. What a shame then that it is spoilt by a horribly put together ending that literally screams "TV MOVIE!" It is far too contrite, and does not favours to Cox or the film. I understand that McKee was replaced by a more happy-friendly director during filming, and his influence is clearly felt here (one wonders how McKee would have done the ending). Other than that though, the film maintains a consistent indie-Western style, and any notions of two directors are not realised.

It is this paltry ending that forces me to award this 7 out of 10. The film has many memorable moments, but is ruined by its final scene. I suggest watching this, if just for the confrontation scenes, and the film does certainly keep you guessing as to how it will end, but if it had just been more adventurous at various points then this could have been a very good film.
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Touching, emotional and an unexpectedly good film
joek-3018 October 2008
I initially thought this film might be OK, but would probably turn out a let-down, as so many do. I was totally wrong. The film was unexpectedly very good. If you are an animal lover and a family man, you should be able to relate to this film and thus should definitely enjoy it.

I found the story very interesting and the acting was excellent. I watched the film whilst having a bottle of wine and this may have made it even better, but I actually found it very touching and even a little emotional. I am not normally the kind of person, who gets emotional watching a film, but this one struck a cord with me and in a way it saddened me, but at the same time, as I could relate to the main actor, he gave me great strength.

Brian Cox played the part tremendously and managed to portray the past tragedies in his life extremely well and with utter conviction. I scored the film 7, but it would be a high 7 and close to an 8. I prefer action type films and slower paced ones like this normally bore me. This one however was far from boring and in actual fact was thoroughly entertaining.
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wonderful movie!
beneaththemassacre116 July 2008
I saw Red at the 2008 Fantasia Film festival in Montreal, Canada first off I'd like to say that i went to see this movie because Lucky Mckee was attached to it and Brian cox . I was extremely disappointed to hear what happened to Lucky half way through the films production where he was replaced by someone else. The final product however one very good nonetheless Brian Cox was just amazing in this film. Without any spoilers this films was very touching. Great music, surprisingly had some action scenes and a great feel to it. I recommend it to anyone who wants to see something real, touching , and well made.

i give it a 10/10 i had no problems what so ever with this film, left satisfied as well as everyone else who cheered and clapped when the credits rolled
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Brian Cox is Reason Enough to See Red
niallalot6 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
If you're going to make a movie about a man and his dog and kill off the dog a few minutes in, you'd better hope the other half of the equation can carry what's to come. Luckily for Red, Emmy award-winner Brian Cox is up to the task; he's well equipped as Avery Ludlow, the half-demented driving force of this troubled production, and although the behind-the-scenes difficulties sully some of the film's most potent moments, Red, in the end, is a quiet triumph that speaks to the talents of all involved.

Avery is a decorated veteran of the Korean war whiling away a quiet life in rural America with that most constant of companions: his dog, the eponymous Red. One morning, the old friends drive down to a beautiful lake for a spot of fishing. Avery sets his rig down and casts his bait; Red settles in contentedly beside him. It's just another easy-going day for the pair until three teenagers looking for trouble happen upon them. With the cold barrel of a hunting rifle to his temple, Avery bites his tongue, acquiesces with their demands; he offers up his beat-up old truck and what little money he has, but it's not enough to satisfy their sneering arrogance. Danny McCormack, leader of the pack and elder brother to the hesitant Harold, turns the gun on Red and gut-shots the poor dog before stalking off to spend his hard day's earnings on a sit-down dinner, leaving a stricken Avery to pick up the bloody pieces.

What begins as a contemplative countryside portrait becomes a more pointedly emotional character study of an apparently powerless old man trying to cope with the callous barbarities of contemporary society, but it's not long before co-directors Lucky McKee and Trygve Diesen demonstrate their preparedness to undermine the audience's expectations a second time: Avery, you see, buries his dog with a grunt and a frown, putting his grief aside to deal more directly with the murderous youths. Red becomes something akin to a revenge thriller; one old man with a heartfelt vendetta versus three little pigs and the institutions that shelter them. Initially, all Avery wants is for them to take responsibility for their actions, but this very reasonable recompense is met with nothing more substantial than polite indifference. Robert Englund and Tom Sizemore as the teenagers' fathers shrug off his accusations, and the DA doesn't think Avery's case is worth the trouble it would take to prosecute. Things seem to be looking up when a friend brings in a local TV journalist to cover the story but even her human-interest pieces aren't enough to bring out the truth. In the end, Avery feels he has no choice except to take the task upon himself.

The story gets going quickly and wraps up with a satisfying bang, but Red's pacing suffers some as Avery mashes his head against the wall trying to do the right thing without succumbing to the violence of vengeance. There's some uneven work through the second act, too, particularly from Kim Dickens as the intrepid reporter, whose three-year deployment in the Deadwood desert as an abused prostitute come lesbian brothel-operator seems more natural in comparison; Stephen Susco's script doesn't give her much to work with, but she can't convince even on the sole count of her one-note role. More damningly, there's no chemistry between her and Cox despite the screen-time they share, the end result of which being that the pivotal secrets Avery reveals to her character ring hollow. Sizemore is similarly one-dimensional as the ultimate villain of the piece, but he gives his shallow character arc the usual poor man's Michael Madsen, which is to say he frowns quite well. Cox, too, stumbles on a few of his lines, most notably outside the courthouse when he snaps at the Santa-shaped sheriff.

The cast are otherwise well equipped – Noel Fisher of The Riches is just shy of scene-stealing as anarchic dog-slaughterer Danny – but it's lucky, in the end, that so much of Red relies on Cox, whose efforts ably support the meandering narrative. Although his performance is too underplayed to be a powerhouse, Cox gives everything away while overtly betraying nothing; his finest moment, in Red at the least, is when Danny's father throws a chance at redemption back at Avery. A revelatory shot captures the eventual bubbling-over of his embitterment: as the old man makes to leave, Sizemore's character stops him in his tracks and the frame splits an extreme close-up of Avery in half, the better to see the patience in his age-worn face positively twisting into an astringent grimace. The mise-en-scene casts Avery as every bit the Two Face the audience has been waiting to see, and when he finally lets loose, the horrific results are suitably gratifying.

The cult horror-movie calibre of the two directors works well enough for Red on the rare occasion the script calls for such expertise, but Lucky McKee and Trygve Diesen are smart enough to stay out of the way and let Cox carry the narrative. While the climactic showdown lacks in vital physicality and there are some missing continuity shots that recall the film's troubled production, their work is assured enough that their decidedly seedy filmographies are sure to improve.

Red suffers from a script from The Grudge screenwriter Stephen Susco, whose dialogue here tends towards monologue and whose grasp on pacing seems strangely saggy, but the human tale of the novel that inspired his work is authentic enough to shine through. Avery's tragic history, however, is misguided in either iteration of Ketchum's story – a blunt instrument that undermines much of the subtlety of his hurt and the anger it encourages. Nonetheless, six months in development hell, two directors and a flat script hardly matter in the wake of Brian Cox's compelling performance. He, alone, is reason enough to see Red.
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PhilipGHarris24 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
There are a lot of reasons to like this movie and Brian Cox and the trio of young male actors are definitely four of them.

Following the opening titles we move straight into the action (both Cox through the title scenes and the young actors managing to develop their characters fully in this first scene - which is beautifully shot and maintains its tension and brooding throughout). Although the rest of the film trails off only marginally the supporting cast is also excellent and some nice tributes are made to the horror genre - although they have managed to adapt the book into a much more taught thriller.

It's the interplay of all the characters be they "right" or "wrong" that makes this film such a joy.

It is also of note that given the two directors on the movie the transition is seamless and there is no way to know who directed what (although seeing this at the Edinburgh Film Festival) Trygve Allister Diesen and Stephen Susco definitely gave good clues after the film.

Susco has also upped his game since the reworking of the Grudge films and that's good to see and hopefully the film will give him an opportunity to move on to better projects.

Tom Sizemore is as you would expect but ably cast as the father of the boys creating a level of menace and music and camera work are well above average. The monologue where Cox reveals his characters family history is fabulously handled.

The film is very well handled and I would happily see it again.
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Fresh take on an old theme
wmjaho29 January 2008
Ten reasons why I like this movie:

1. IMDb lists 14 movies named "Red" in the past 30 years and this is the only one I've seen.

2. Productionwas bifurcated—shot by two different directors. But you could never tell, a credit more to the final director, Trygve Allister Diesen, than initial director Lucky McKee.

3. The Carmen Sandiego Factor: The movie is set in rural Oregon, and filmed in Maryland by a Norwegian director. Who would have guessed this could possibly turn out well?

4. Young TV actor Noel Fisher sneers with conviction as he plays Danny--the spoiled, insecure and mean-spirited rich bully--realistically enough to make you hate him.

5. Tom Sizemore plays Danny's dad, an even bigger jerk, and has a natural sneer, which might be drug-induced since the movie was shot before his 2007 prison sentence for another drug conviction.

6. Brian Cox (Bourne Supremacy) is really terrific as Avery Ludlow, the aged protagonist. He's old, fat, bald and has a flawed past. And he's the main man. He's like Mr. Miyagi for the 21st century, except he doesn't know karate.

7. Thankfully, Ludlow does not engage in gratuitous sex with anyone in the movie. While this certainly put the Sundance submission at risk, it was an act of good taste and gracious compassion to the audience.

8. Dogs and puppies make every movie better.

9. The story has all the earmarks of a Greek tragedy, but with a modern American twist. It definitely had a classical feel, including hubris as a fatal flaw, yet still managed to keep viewers fully engaged from beginning to end.

10. Snooty film critics might complain that the wrap-up was trite and contrived, but nevertheless, the ending satisfied the audience, which sure beats the alternative.
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Unexpectly good small budget movie
bandrun16 March 2009
I don't know why it happens, possibly I'm not a good citizen, but movies in which animals die sadden me more than when humans do. And possibly on that thought, and because I'm also a pet owner, I couldn't help but intensely root for the owner who goes after the kids who killed red. And that leads me to the marvelous performance by Brian Cox, an actor whom I never gave much attention to, even though many people love him. Tom Sizemore gives, like usual, another great spectacle. Actually all actors deserve praises. The directing by Trygve Allister Diesen is also quite remarkable. I have to admit I have a weakness for this movies about this rural small towns in the USA, in particular those who delve into the drudgery of those living there, which, to me, is the center of this film.
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How much is that doggy in the window?
Coventry23 April 2009
I haven't read anything from author Jack Ketchum's novella repertoire yet and this is only the first movie adaptation of his work that I watched, but nevertheless I had high expectations because he has a wide and loyal fan base, which includes several people whose opinions I value enormously. The basic plot description makes "Red" sound like a raw and primitive vigilante/revenge thriller – the type of film that "Death Wish" spawned a truckload of in the 1970's – but the truth is that this is much more of a compelling drama and detailed character study rather than a gratuitously violent thriller. Thanks to the, hands down, brilliant tour-de-force acting performance of Brian Cox and the recognizable defaults in our modern day society (like abuse of power and derailed youth), "Red" is a saddening and diligent fable about one man's consistent quest for justice where others would have given up long time ago already. Avery Ludlow is a small town's store owner who enjoys nothing more than to go fishing in his fixed and idyllic little spot, accompanied by his old but faithful dog Red. Red is Avery's dearest impedimenta, as it was a present from his deceased wife. When a trio of adolescent thugs, on the lookout for money and kicks, cruelly and cold-heartedly kill Red with a headshot, Avery obviously seeks retaliation. He confronts the boys' father with indisputable facts and asks for an appropriate punishment, but since Mr. McCormack is an obnoxious and wealthy local businessman, the accusations are simply laughed away. Moreover, when Avery seeks help and support around town, McCormack uses his political influence to obstruct him. Especially the first half of "Red" is extremely powerful and fascinating. The dramatic event at the fishing lake, Avery's first acquaintance with the arrogant Michael McCormack (fitting role for Tom Sizemore) and his first attempts to acquire justice are all masterfully accomplished sequences that literally ooze with suspense and craftsmanship. I watched this movie at the annual Fantastic Film Festival in my country, amidst a whole gathering of usually outrageous and bloodthirsty horror freaks, but I assure the audience was dead quiet and staring at the screen with eyes and mouth wide open during these intense sequences. The second half is unfortunately a lot less impressive, on the very of disappointing even, due to a handful of far-fetched twists and illogical sequences. The escalation of the vendetta between Avery and the McCormack family are simply too implausible to take seriously and the climax is too violent to fit in with the overall tone of the film. Nonetheless this is a remarkable and long-haunting film with a lot of heart & passion. The major stars receive excellent support from familiar B-movie faces, like Robert Englund, Amanda Plummer and Ashley Laurence. Particularly that last one was a refreshment to see again, as she hasn't appeared in a half-decent movie since she depicted the lovable Kirsty Cotton in "Hellraiser".
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An unorthodox revenge tale with a twist...
varundelpiero26 January 2009
RED is one of those low-budget, narrow-release Canadian films that is full of emotion, and encourages the viewer to think, and to feel. I was guilty of dismissing this before viewing as another mindless revenge flick, but directors Trygve Diesen and Lucky McKee and writer Stephen Susco manage to do a powerful job of piecing the story together such that it flows extremely well.

The acting by Brian Cox is quite impressive, as he portrays the picture of calmness, while exuding a deep-set sense of having a troubled past. The unlikeable Tom Sizemore reprises the role of the even more unlikeable Michale McCormack, while Noel Fisher plays his wayward and hateful older son.

RED sets off as a simple Motion Picture but evolves quite well as the story progresses, touching upon various facets of human emotion and family relationship within a relatively short run-time (about 90 minutes). My only regret here is the ultimate lack of closure (in some departments). Apart from that, RED is quite impressive and surprising, deserving of a solid 7/10 and a 3-star rating (out of 4). May just about clinch a spot on my Honourable Mention list. Recommended.
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You don't always need to see the truth to know it.
lastliberal19 December 2008
I have seen Brian Cox in over a dozen films, including the Bourne Trilogy, but I doubt if I have ever seen as fine a performance as he gave in this film. he just wanted the truth, and damn those who try to hide it.

You have to have had a dog and lost a dog to know the depths of feeling that was in Avery Ludlow (Cox). You have to have loved and lost to know what is important. You have to have sacrificed for others to hold the truth as high as Avery did. All his feelings and experiences made for a powerful story, and Cox delivered like I have never seen him do before.

There were many other very good performances in this film as it built to an explosive climax, and a sweet ending.
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Excellent movie!!!!!
mntwister7 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I can't think of any flaws with this film. I went into this not knowing what to expect, only reading the slight synopsis on the rental. This film, in its early reviews, fell under the "revenge" category, but that is not what this is about in any way. There is no revenge here. Avery Ludlow, played by Brian Cox, is a man who is kind, generous and well respected in his community, a small town. Several teenagers commit an act that hurts him and he wants only admission and an apology. But the guilty are children of a rich man who won't let his reputation be hurt and who has connections and uses them so that Avery cannot put to rest the act that occurred (I am not going to say what it is, not really a spoiler since it is in the synopsis everywhere but in case this is all you read, you won't know then).

There simply is no revenge in Ludlow's heart, but things get worse as he just tries to deal with what happened here, after losing his family several years prior to this. I won't go anymore into the story, but I will say that this is a great film, about morals, honor, and those with money who try to get away with anything. Beautifully acted, I always felt this was a totally realistic situation, the characters were very real to me and situations like this could very easily occur, and most probably do. I highly recommend this movie. I think it is an important film in many respects, and rarely is a story told these days where the victim doesn't seek cold revenge but just admission. As you find out about Ludlow's life, you will certainly be in sympathy for him, which only adds to the awful things that happen here. Don't miss this one!
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A Good Surprise and Underrated
dancemacabre6 May 2009
I saw this movie with no big expectations. Only after a few minutes of watching I started to realize that this is on just a ordinary movie. This I noticed through the dialogs which is pretty god and most from the excellent acting from main role Brian Cox. The actors in this movie are behaving quite naturally and this having effect to movie that it looks realistic. If you have read a plot and you doesn't see the movie, you easily can think this is a one of cliché revenge movie. If you so, you're wrong.

This is emotionally and strong story about one man and his love to justice and his dog. His dog isn't only a pet, it's everything he got. He lost his woman and son which were killed by his older son. In the middle of the movie, Brian (or just Ludlow in this movie) talking about his sad and unlucky past and what he's been through.

One thing that has flaws and that get me nervous a little bit is the near the end movie. Almost entire movie, Brian stalking a kid who killed his dog. At the near end, he get in the gun conflict with that kid and his father. In the next scene we realize that Brian is peacefully reading the newspaper. There's no cops, there's no trial, just a big and sudden plot hole. I begin to ask what happen to father? What police have to say at all about? Well, I have to only guess, but not to be sure. Movie for surely wouldn't be that much long and outstretched if they were filmed this explanation. But that's no big failure. It was really enjoyable movie and I'm really satisfied about that. Must say that this work is somehow overlooked. I watched many popular movies last years which they were not good as this one. This movie isn't popular at all in the meaning of cinematography. It's convicted on small publicity and audience with intention. With all this we now realize that this is one of those hidden gem that we must watch. Even if we don't like dramas, I think that many wouldn't be disappointed.
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A sensitive examination of why revenge doesn't work...
she-4128 April 2009
A very thoughtful, well-acted and well-written film. I didn't expect to like this movie but it immediately drew me in. Brian Cox is brilliant in his under-played rage and grief. It was very real to me because that's how most people, especially men, grieve--privately. But his gentleness and his willingness to forgive intrigued me and drew me into his character. I had not read the book, so I was further pulled into the movie when the plot starts twisting around his attempts at going about things 'the right way'...and how much insanity he encounters with THAT approach. But not nearly as much insanity as he runs into just trying to get an apology...

And, I loved the ending. For a seemingly low-budget film, this one overcomes all the glitz that money can buy with something fairly rare these days--SUBSTANCE.
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This movie is fantastic
Ci-ti-zen22 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I loved watching this, despite, like others said, it is very sad and the kind of movie that keeps you on the edge and make you feel frustrated for what the character goes thru. I felt the story of his family's tragedy was a bit overboard, but I guess it was in line with his character.

The acting is truly a pleasure to watch. Cox is really a good actor and he proved himself once again here

All in all, really a very good movie that will give you a harsh lesson of life, principles and how far one is ready to go to defend these.

P.S. the innocent puppy at the end made me weap a bit :(
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A well told dramatic thriller
Chugalugaboo22 May 2009
I remember watching the trailer to this and thinking that it gave away a lot of the film. Made me wonder if it was really worth going out to see this when the entire story is basically told in trailer. So when I recognized the title and decided to give it a try I was pleasantly surprised.

I feel like you really know how everything's going to unfold, barring a few minor details, but it's not what happens so much as how it's told. The story is written and cast almost perfectly. I believe this movie is a good example that a plot is really only as good as how well it's written and who is put in the roles. Brian Cox is an excellent choice as the protagonist. He's not a Clint Eastwood or a John Wayne type of aging star. He's a fat, bald, old man who enjoys his work, fishing, hunting, and his dog. I know several men just like his character in my own life. In addition, I know people who I could see in the kids roles in this story. Noel Fisher was a perfect choice. I think everyone's met a kid like that; someone who thinks they're owed everything in life and will throw a tantrum if they can't do something on the first try. A person who will go off on someone for any perceived slight against them. Someone who's so jaded in life they could find entertainment in others' suffering.

That said, my only complaint is that the ultimate message of the story gets kinda lost or clouded throughout. On the other hand at least it isn't too preachy and full of itself. Some symbolism is a bit too blatant (Look no further than the title for that haha) and there are some other points that get lost. But like I said, it's worth watching just because it's told rather well. You never really get bored with the film and is a very good change from movies that can't figure out if they want to be thrillers or action flicks.
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Like winding up for a sneeze that never comes
BoulevardPark8 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This movie disappoints in several areas.

First off is Noel Fisher's ham-handed performance in the opening scene. It gets a tiiiiny less awful as the film goes on, but the tone is set. He is the evil opposite of Brian Cox in the script as well as in performance. Cox, Plummer and Englund all turn in good performances. It's a pity they should be stuck with such an awful script.

Which leads to Disappointment Number Two: Believability. Lemme get this straight--we're in a rural Oregon town that looks like it could have been used for the summer scenes of Northern Exposure, and Cox manages to tail these teenage thugs without them noticing until he gets out of his car (parked directly behind them) and he gets out and calls after them? These guys are sociopaths, not idiots. Then, there is the action itself. Right on the back of the DVD I was suckered into renting It says: "...seeks justice and redemption"..."must avenge himself by any means necessary". Three punks try to rob Cox at gunpoint and when they find he has nothing to steal, they kill his dog out of pure meanness. And laugh. I'll get right to the point--there is no justice, no redemption and mostly there is no vengeance. I absolutely cannot believe that this guy is going to go to the parents and only ask for that the boy be made to apologize. I can't believe it would go down like that for ANY dog, and certainly not a dog who is his only remaining connection to his late wife. OK, it's a small town--you can't just go 'round kneecapping little punks for "only a dog". Still, I'd expect him to be more than just quietly, passively sad when the little punks throw a brick through the window of his home and then burn his store to the ground. At that point it's clear that they are going to hurt HIM in very short order.

The director scores the hat trick of disappointment with the "climax" and ending. If I had a climax like this at the Mustang Ranch I'd demand my money back. The cruel unrepentance of the dog killers' families escalates to the point of attempted (human) murder, once, twice, THREE times and still Cox's character is sticking with this stoic "All I want is for you people to do the right thing" nonsense. JUSTICE would be something JUST like Death Wish or The Brave One, and PRUDENCE dictates a preemptive strike. Simply put, once somebody tries to rob you, kills your dog, throws a brick through your window when you complain about the first two, tries to beat your brains out, burns down your store, shoots you in the head, runs you off the road, clubs you and leaves you for dead, it's time to start killing stuff. Cox doesn't. And I. JUST. CAN'T. BELIEVE. IT.

We watch movies like this for one reason, and one reason only: good ol' fashioned catharsis. You watch Death Wish or The Brave One and you can almost be OK with calling 911 instead of grabbing a gun and cutting out the middle men in the jury box. This film is a total let down there. Cox's character tearfully says"...two boys DIED.." Waaaah. OK, at this point, I'm already annoyed that I've lost an hour and a half of my life to this wussy tease of a revenge movie, but then comes the awful saccharin "After School Special" ending? Makes you envy the dog--HE was able to get out during the first 10 minutes of this steaming pile of Why-Did-I-Sit-All-The-Way-Through-That. If you get a chance to see this, go watch Torch Song Trilogy instead--at least THAT guy had the (fill in your choice of small spherical objects here) to take any guff when attacked.
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I have never been so moved since 'Where The Red Fern Grows'
KarenPsychicMedium21 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
If you are an animal lover you are bound to find this movie tug at your heart strings. A movie portraying a widowed man who's only companion is his faithful dog Red, given to him by his wife. The movie begins with the dog lying on the bed beside his master Avery Ludlow, they venture out to do a spot of fishing only to be embarked upon by 3 boys, Danny, Pete and Harold who at first appear to be OK. However the leader of them Danny brandishes a shotgun, which is used on Red in order to prove his manhood to the others, these cowards then mock the fact the dog is now dead. Avery tries hard to remain level headed and even attempts to speak to the boys father, who is well to do, is adamant the boys didn't do such a thing. Danny even tries to deny he ever saw Avery. The movie then deepens to the point where there is no other justice than taking matters into his own hands, which Avery does. The ending will have you grabbing for the tissues..

Thoroughly enjoyed this movie, finally, a movie with a great storyline and actors who can! Also a credit to the Director and filming crew, the action shots weren't overdone, the location shots and steady camera made all the more for a great movie! Well done!
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Low budget movies can be amazing...
BernardoLima19 November 2008
I was expecting something great, and great it was. How simple and yet amazing is the idea behind this movie? Unless you don't like animals you'll be touched by this movie and if you're an animal lover then this is definitely for you. Avery Ludlow (Brian Cox) is a lonely 64 year old man living a peaceful life in the country. He has gone trough some bad things in the past and now he's just taking it one day at a time.He and his best friend, Red, a 14 year old dog that makes him company and which he loves. One day three teenage boys (one of them carrying a rifle) approach Ave and try to steal money from him; since Ave hasn't any, they tease him and then they shoot Red. Afterwords they laugh showing no remorse. From this point on the movie focus on Ave seeking justice. All the actors did a great job but Brian Cox was superb and you could really see the emotion in his voice and facial expression. This is a fantastic movie and if you're tired of the Hollywood formula you should really give it a try.

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