Daytime Trauma

Simon Rumley’s revenge-triangle flick, Red White & Blue, has the dense dramatic content of a soap-opera plot. But instead of gazing intensely, the beleaguered characters reach for knives and duct tape. The style is haute-horror in a grungy Austin setting: As the damaged Erica (Amanda Fuller) notches up guys, Rumley provides sharply cut visual storytelling, minimal dialogue, and aura-inducing piano. Erica’s boardinghouse neighbor, Nate (Noah Taylor), helps her get a Home Depot-ish job, but his Charles Manson looks and left-field story about animals he tortured as a kid promise bumps ahead in their friendship. Then, suddenly, one of Erica’s hook-ups, aspiring rocker Franki (Marc Senter), re-enters the picture, caring for his sick mother and jamming with his band. The movie’s gears grind here as cancer suspense, HIV panic, and gruesome freakouts are whipped out in short order; Rumley could have gotten things rolling without them. But the pacing and performances — particularly Franki’s resentment toward Erica and of Nate’s dead-eyed protectiveness of her — are more organic than in most horror, and Rumley ably and unironically fleshes out his characters’ workaday lives with suitable location work. By the time the twisted revenge violence happens, the story has built up an unnerving undertone of maddened grief and confused rage.
April 22-May 4; Tue., May 10, 2011

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