Review: Bellflower

Posted: September 30, 2011 in Film Reviews
Tags: , , ,

Evan Glodell in a scene from BellflowerIf you’ve never heard of this movie, that’s okay. Most of the people involved are basically newcomers. But watch the trailer. It’s not often I make this recommendation (because I think trailers are the ultimate spoilers), but this one provides a glimpse of the masterful camerawork featured in Bellflower.

Woodrow (Evan Glodell) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson) are best friends with a dream – to build a fire-breathing car that will make them kings in a post-apocalyptic world. In the meantime, they live a carefree life of fantasy, hanging out and drinking. When Woodrow meets Milly (Jessie Wiseman), the couple embarks on a journey of love, and ultimately pain. The events post-break-up are practically world ending, and the narrative becomes dark and confused.

The story is pretty straightforward to start. It’s a buddy film crossed with a romantic adventure. But it evolves into a cryptic, bloody mess of intense emotions and cruel acts of revenge. The transition isn’t surprising as hints of Woodrow’s temper and Milly’s compulsiveness are displayed earlier in the narrative; on the other hand, the extent to which they both follow their instincts is shocking. Moreover, as Woodrow deals with his wounds, he often becomes lost in his memories, creating a disorienting experience for viewers. However, the reliance on this technique for the remainder of the narrative points to a greater emphasis on style than substance.

Though the story may become convoluted, the images are consistently brilliant. The first half is saturated with vivid colors, matching the characters’ hope and happiness; the latter half is fittingly blurry and drained of life. But all of it is mesmerizing; particularly the scenes of giant flames licking the sky.

Though the actors are relatively unknown, while watching there was a sense of familiarity. They’re so natural on-screen and their characters seem so relatable that I was convinced I’d seen them in something before Bellflower. In addition to lead actor, Glodell is also the writer and director – three roles that should gain him some accolades. The dialogue could easily be excerpts from everyday conversation and the film style is beyond stunning at times. The only significant, but simultaneously meaningless, plot hole is their source of income; they pay rent and buy various items, but there’s never any hint of employment.

This film is by no means perfect, but it could definitely be the start of a film career worth following.

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