August 14, 2011

Filthy Review - Bellflower

Bellflower (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Evan Glodell’s debut movie, named after a street featured in the film, is the second movie I have seen released by Oscilloscope Laboratories. The first one was Rare Exports, and that ended up being tied for my film of 2010. That being said when I first read about Bellflower I had no idea who was releasing it. Now, Bellflower and Rare Exports couldn’t be further apart in terms of content, what they share though is originality and soul that you would come to expect from quality independent cinema.

In Bellflower we follow the exploits of Woodrow (Evan Glodell) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson) who are childhood friends living in California. Both of them are fans of the movie Mad Max 2, and spend their time building a flamethrower in anticipation of the impending apocalypse where they can rule the roost in their Muscle car, named Medusa, whilst living out their Lord Humongous fantasies.

Of course the best laid plans of mice and men and all that aren’t necessarily going to be smooth sailing. The wrench in this particular story comes in the shape of Millie (Jessie Wiseman) who enters their life whilst at a bar one night. Woodrow slowly falls for her and things go smoothly for a while. However, as is the tragic nature of this movie, events slowly spiral into the crazy, not to mention the surreal.

Bellflower truly is a unique viewing experience, it doesn’t always follow a straightforward narrative, but it was one that held my attention throughout. The visual style perfectly captured the onscreen events, all bright yet dirty colors with the grime finding itself caked to the screen at times. All of this is accompanied by one of the best, and most haunting, soundtracks, courtesy of Jonathon Keevil, that I have heard in recent years.

The performances by the three principals were all excellent too. Glodell’s naïve and innocent nihilism as Woodrow, Tyler Dawson’s Aiden with his constantly optimistic outlook and Millie’s cold yet friendly detachment, all three were fantastic and that is not to take anything away from the supporting cast.

If I was to try and describe Bellflower in just a few words I would have to say that it came across as a cross between Fight Club and Richard Linklater’s Slacker. Even then I wouldn’t really be doing it justice. It had the feel of an early 90s’ movie yet also felt right at home in the present.

Dark and violent in places, and wonderfully serene in others, Bellflower is a beautifully fucked-up and anarchic movie that I recommend wholeheartedly to all fans of original and challenging cinema.

Bellflower is released by Oscilloscope Laboratories and is currently playing theaters. For a full list of where and when it is playing click here

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