A few years ago, if someone had told said that Kevin Smith was going to make an action movie (one not named “Cop Out”), laughs would have surely ensued. However, Smith did just that, and did it beautifully, with his latest film “Red State”, a vast departure from the films such as “Clerks” and “Mallrats”, underground comedies, that made him famous. Using the real world examples on the lengths some will go for their faith, Smith paints a chilling and violent picture of the Cooper family, a religious sect led by pastor Abin Cooper.
Cooper and his loved ones are deeply devoted, and believe it is their right to kill those who defy God. The film starts with the Coopers and their Five Points Church protesting the funeral of a young man believed to be gay, not unlike another real life church group, the Westboro Baptist Church, who is well known for similar acts.
The movie continues, following three teens who believe they’re meeting an older woman for sex, and finding out that it was all a ploy to get them to pay for their sinful acts with their lives, as judged by Cooper and Five Points. Eventually, due to the actions of the three boys prior to their kidnapping, things come to a head with a showdown with the ATF, led by Joe Keenan (John Goodman), erupting into a maelstrom of violence with a surprising resolution.
For a director mostly known for foul language and toilet humor, Smith delivers, and big time, with his latest release, a violent, haunting, and engrossing tale of faith gone too far, done with an objectivity that does not show any spite on Smith’s part, but more of observation.
Starring Michael Parks, Melissa Leo, and John Goodman.
Written and directed by Kevin Smith.
Overall score: 10/10