June 10, 2023

Film Review – Red Rocket (2021)


One of intrigue and cringe, also hilarious and forbiddingly romantic exploits of an individual you’ll love, or hate or both or neither, with no denying the absolute dynamic impact for the viewer Simon Rex has, as Mikey.

From the creative authentic mind of versatile director, Sean Baker (Tangerine) he brings cultural voyeurism to the forefront in an openly uncomfortable story of washed-up pornographic performer Mikey Saber, hauling himself back from an extended Los Angeles sojourn to stay unannounced with estranged wife Lexi (Bree Elrod) in Texas.

Not happy although allowing him to move in with rigid conditions, Lexi with her disapproving mother Lil (Brenda Deiss) somehow put up once again with this firebrand, charming pathological liar, juvenile minded con-man.

Former MTV host, Rex is disorientating, you want to but cannot look away, a relentless force of nature gaining traction as potential long-shot at Academy Award recognition.

Set in the summer of 2016 with a reminder of Republican Conventions seen through Trump clips on background televisions.

Mikey begins making an under the-table-wage running narcotics for a local supplier to mostly construction workers and ill-advisedly pursues romance with young donut store assistant, appropriately named Strawberry (Suzanna Son – a career defining performance).

As much as I retained complete attention throughout courtesy of a high bar set in cinematography, elaborate set design and curiosity of what will happen next, this is a hard film to watch at times.

Bree Elrod, is all unapologetic fierceness, whilst alluring Son, flourishes beyond borders of limitations.
The title doesn’t suit and sadly that striking image on the poster is not recreated. Following up The Florida Project (2017) with Red Rocket wasn’t originally planned, however, whatever Sean Baker calls the shots on, it’s nothing short of a committed experience.


Comedy, Drama | USA, 2021 | 15 | 2022 Glasgow Film Festival | 18th March 2022 (UK Cinema) | Universal Pictures | Dir.Sean Baker | Simon Rex, Suzanna Son, Bree Elrod, Brenda Deiss, , Ethan Darbone, Brittney Rodriguez

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