Fun fact: Red is my favorite color. Does that mean anything to the quality of this film? Not really. Nevertheless, it’s a good omen. Probably.
The human fascination of Blue makes a full return here. Red as a color isn’t as prominently showcased visually, I think, though the spirit of it comes full force. After a voided nothing that was White, Red pays close attention to a very familiar element: human relationships.
Another fun fact: I am quite fond of psychology. Human behavior, morality, motivations, interaction; all fascinates me to no end. With this as a foundation, it was an immediate night-and-day difference in terms of immersion, and struggle I did not to view this. In fact, this is probably the most accessible film of the trilogy, at least for me. Characters, setting, scenes, and more all came together splendidly to make the 95-minute runtime fly by.
Performance-wise, I don’t think any film in the trilogy really suffered. In Red, Irène Taylor as the lead was something of a mix between the two former leads. Not quite as striking as Binoche, but eventually her character’s curiosity gave her a nice mystique that added to the scenes opposite her counterpart: a retired judge played by Jean-Louis Trintignant. These two and their developing relationship are the crux of the film’s success, and thankfully it succeeds. Both advanced as with the plot, dipping into the realm of emotions and disturbances that fully developed them as people to care for.
To elaborate more on the usage of red, I don’t recall seeing much of it visually. A big red poster, red cars, red clothing, red rooms, and even red skin as the lead, Valentine (also red), exerts herself doing yoga. It seems that what it intends to convey is the essence of life, of passion, of vigor, or whatever. Although it’s intended, what I always reminisce back to most is Kern’s (Trintignant) home, which feels empty and devoid of the color. I could also have been paying too close attention to their faces, but it seemed to fall out in these longer scenes with just a back-and-forth conversation.
Speaking of conversation, there’s a looooooot of it in this film. Just a back-and-forth method of communication—generally between Taylor and Trintignant, though not entirely. Lots of phone calls between Taylor and her possessive boyfriend, between her and her family members, between strangers, overheard from Trintignant’s radio frequencies. What we say to one another seems integral to the film’s purpose, all the while developing those on two separate ends to a tricky moral circumstance… which admittedly is resolved rather quickly.
And what is red without love? Familial love, one-sided love, possessive love; many different directions are dissected and brought to light. Not all get equal treatment in terms of resolution or development, with a majority of the focus simply weaving through different types of a whole. Objective, self-doubting cynicism and genuine goodness battle throughout between characters, shaped by the experiences they’ve faced. Getting to see them unfold, and with each major character growing closer due to it, was a rewarding consequence.
I can’t quite tell if I’m being vague or too over-explanatory with the film’s themes. On one hand, I liked the film greatly and wish to analyze it further. On the other, I don’t want to go into direct spoiler mode. Boiled down to its bare essentials, this film works for me because the two major characters are performed well, have good chemistry, and tumble down a path where both provide some semblance of escape or comfort for the other—beautifully conveyed. I liked it quite a bit.
Of the three, it’s the most personally rewarding for me. While I think there’s more of an edge to Blue in terms of conveying the emotional resonance it provides, Red is something of a more wholesome human connection that gives me the ~good feels~. An easy watch, adorned by the color that agrees with me most. Even seeing the poster torn down in the rain was of little consequence. At the end of the day, I had one final thought:
“This is a hell of a lot better than White.”
Final Score: 8/10
The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.
For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!
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