Redlegs: Film Review

Redlegs Film Still - H 2012

Redlegs Film Still - H 2012

Brandon Harris wears his Cassavetes influence on his sleeve for directorial debut.

Movie critic Brandon Harris makes his directorial debut that centers on three young men who reunite for the funeral of their friend.

NEW YORK — A three-hander drawing obvious (and acknowledged) inspiration from Cassavetes's Husbands but not weighed down by the auteur's influence, Redlegs marks the promising directorial debut of film critic Brandon Harris. Too short for conventional theatrical consideration but just the right length for its subject, it should win some admirers in its niche booking here.

When three young men reunite for the funeral of their friend Ricky, who was killed in a brutal mugging, the violence of his death is only one cause for volatility between them. There's also the fact that one of them, Marco, abandoned their circle some time back to learn farming in preparation for civilization's collapse. And hotheaded Aaron, when not complaining about that abandonment, is exploding in foul-mouthed rants about those he feels didn't know Ricky well enough to mourn him publicly now.

While Aaron loudly proclaims the trio's loss, red-cheeked Wilbur bears it silently. Evan Louison stands out in the role, unkempt and worried as his more successful friends act out -- getting in fights and looking for sex while Willie suggests ways to focus on Ricky's memory.

As the funeral day drags into a boozy, testosterone-soaked night, the trio's attempt to enjoy time together looks  more likely to end badly, perhaps even violently. Harris and DP Miranda Rhyne capture the unsettled atmosphere without straining to make more of it than it is. An apparent stab at racial commentary is less successful, and some viewers will wonder what they're supposed to make of the fact that Ricky, the black friend of these white men, was slain on a street named Race.

Opens: Friday, May 25 (reRun Gastropub)
Production Companies: Arts Fund, Nappinati Films
Cast: Evan Louison, Andrew Katz, Nathan Ramos, Aimee Cucchiaro, T.J. Hamper, Jill Donenfeld, Brandon Harris
Director: Brandon Harris
Screenwriters: Brandon Harris, Andrew Katz, Evan Louison, Nathan Ramos    
Producers: Brett Greene, Brandon Harris, Evan Louison
Executive producers: Adam Hootnick, Bryan Kane, Schuyler Murdock
Director of photography: Miranda Rhyne        
Production designer: Kelsey Noble
Costume designer: Kelsey Wing        
Editors: Brandon Harris, Jackeline Tejada
No rating, 65 minutes