Just saw Red State, and for me the ways in which it’s the antithesis of Prometheus are legion. Just for starters: I knew nothing about it, I had no expectations or anticipation going in, and I’m not a fan of its director. Prometheus is stuffed full of top drawer acting talent and big names. Red State has a cast that – with the exception of John Goodman – I’ve barely heard of. Prometheus was budgeted at 130 million dollars (if you believe Wikipedia), Red State got made for under 4 million. Prometheus, before the reviews came in, I would gladly have shelled out a tenner plus to see in 3D splendour at my local multiplex. Red State showed up through the door on DVD via my wife’s Love Film selection, and I nearly didn’t bother watching it at all (fifteen months into fatherhood, the twin needs for sleep and productive work hours hold me in a thrall previously unimaginable).
The prospect of viewing Prometheus at some future moment leaves me profoundly dispirited. I suppose I shall have to, professional interest and all. Seeing Red State left me energised and inspired. It reminded me why I love movies, why I love story-telling and ultimately why I write myself.
I’m going to reserve more definitive comment on contrasts within the material of each film until such time as I have – dispiritedly – shelled out for a DVD rental of Prometheus and actually seen it, because anything else would be grossly unfair. But I think some early estimations are in order. Prometheus appears, from the reports I’ve read, to be a soulless, confusing mish-mash of all that cool stuff you saw in that other movie and wanted more of. Red State is an utterly fresh and soulful mish-mash that works. Prometheus’s plot was going to be predictable from the get-go (which, NB, is not necessarily in itself a failing in a movie – it was also true of the original Alien). Red State was quite literally impossible for me to predict at any point past the initial twenty minutes in. Prometheus – apparently – looks for horror in CGI and the outer limits. Red State finds horror right next door and delivers it with scripted speech and tightly constructed human dynamics. Prometheus trumpets its philosophical concerns in full orchestral grandeur, from the earliest trailers on in – we’re after Life, the Universe and Everything here. Red State delivers a pair of taut little lectures on current religious and political state-of-play and leaves you to ponder.
Prometheus has taken over four hundred million dollars at the box office. Red State has just about made back its four million budget and change.
There’s a lesson in this somewhere, but I’m still not sure exactly what it is. I’ll get back to you.
EDIT – Getting back to you……
Oh, Jesus fucking Christ, oh look, no, look, really, fer fucksake, nooooooooooooooo…………………..