To be completely honest with you, reader, I did not know much about Red, but I wanted to see it. Unlike most of my movie picks, I didn't check out the official site or follow it avidly until it opened. Instead, I saw one glimpse of Helen Mirren shooting someone followed by quick shots of Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised after watching this engaging film. Hit the jump for the full review (sans spoilers).
In some ways, Red felt a bit like Joseph Heller's Closing Time (the sequel to his popular Catch-22). Former CIA-agents are having a difficult time adjusting to being older. They are retired and they cannot really enjoy their new "freedom." Instead, they all live in a sort of routine finding pleasure in little things, but remaining rather unhappy.
Bruce Willis is the main character, Frank. He was one of the best agents of his time and is now living in a sleepy town. He finds joy in speaking with a pension claims associate—Sarah—over the phone, so he tears up his checks to keep in contact with her. When he is targeted, he must not only find and half kidnap, half rescue her while reconnecting with other CIA-agents, but he must also find out the skinny for the sudden death threats.
The cinematography is very well executed. Between locations, they use postcards to show the new cities and it adds a really nice touch to the film overall. There are all kinds of explosions and shootouts to satiate the action-enthusiast in all of us. There is blood and the assassins aren't really killed in the kindest of ways, so if you are squeamish, you might be closing your eyes—but hey, this is action, why would you see this kind of movie if you can't take a bit of blood.
The actors are a real hodgepodge of favorites for me. Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren and Richard Dreyfuss bring a lot of character to the film. Something about people the age of your grandparents running around kicking some serious butt is enjoyable to watch. The characters' quirks were well-considered and the plot was organized well.
So should you see it? Well, I truly enjoyed this film. It had a bit of a somber tone to it as it brings death and the idea of growing old into the mix, but it was worth the money. Though I paid matinee price, I don't think I would've felt it was overpriced during regular hours. If you have some time, go ahead and visit your local theatre for a good fall film.