MOVIE REVIEW: Tomato Red

Drama in which one of life’s losers hitches his wagon to a low life family from the wrong side of the wrong side of the tracks.  A girl with the strangest red hair I’ve ever seen, who dreams of getting away from their one horse town, her brother who she is starting to whore out, and her prostitute mother who sees life the way it truly is take in Sammy.  But it doesn’t take long for this band of misfits to fall prey to the local hatred of their lower class ways.

This has to be one of the most beautifully shot films that I’ve seen in a long time, a long time, filmed in Canada and meant to look like the southern states of America, the scenery is presented in a very charming and almost dream like way.  The harsh reality of the story is starkly contrasted to this though as the characters that we follow through the film are living a less than dream life.

The problem I have with this film is that it goes nowhere, there is very little resolution and even less sense to the plot.  That is a huge problem for me.  Through the film you have a cast giving their all and the set up for something special to come out is there, but about two-thirds of the way into the film you lose interest, the good will of the audience is squandered.

The cast of the film includes Anna Friel, giving the performance of her career, as the prostitute Mother of the siblings.  Nick Roux as the feminine brother Jason, who is more or less than comfortable being whored out by his sister.  Jake Weary as Sammy, who also is mumbling the narration, but other than gives a great performance as the loser who is just looking for friends.  Then you have Julia Garner as the red-head who dreams of living in the fancier parts of America but you always get the feeling that no matter where she goes she’ll run into the same problems.  These four characters are the back bone of the film, and the chemistry between them is fantastic, which makes the lack of resolution to the story so much more frustrating than anything else.  

Imagine that you have a niece or nephew that as a baby you love, you watch them grow up and are starting to feel proud of what they can become and then they hit their teens and you want to run away from them as fast as you can because they’ve become absolute horrors to be around.  That’s kind of how I feel about this film.  All the promise of the first part of the films life filled me with hope that I was going to see was one of the finest smaller productions of the year.  Then two-thirds of the way through the development it just turns to all kinds of terrible.  I’ve packed my bags and I’m running.  Family is family and a film is just a film, but at some point you’ve got to know when to fold ’em.

While the great performances of the main stars are something to be proud of it just left me wanting to leave the cinema and get some brain floss.  A beautiful to look at film that just doesn’t know how to carry off the story that they want to tell.  Not awful, just not worth sticking around for.

Director: Juanita Wilson
Writers: Juanita Wilson, Daniel Woodrell
Stars: Julia Garner, Jake Weary, Anna Friel

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