If I’m honest, I do always struggle to relate to movies and characters in movies that are all about drugs. It’s not something that has ever been part of my life, so for a film about the subject to draw me in, it has to be at the very top of its game.
Red Devil starts off well enough. Although much of the acting performances do seem a bit amateur from the get-go, the cinematography is pleasing on the eye. There’s a cool use of colour throughout, whether it be the neon lights, the brightly coloured graffiti or the Red Devil drug itself. The colours pop out of the screen. While alongside these visuals is an interesting choice of music. Lots of classical and music you will recognise – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but it is clear plenty of thought has gone onto the music choices.
A small complaint about the movie is one of my ‘pet hates’ from many movies, and that’s CGI blood. It very occasionally can look okay but more often than not, it looks awful and screams low budget. And Red Devil has some of the worst I’ve seen. Surely a few practical effects could have been used in the scenes? Or just don’t show, that would have been better.
There’s a strange mix of intriguing characters in Red Devil, at least in looks alone. There’s not much depth to many of them but the costume designers did keep busy and the colourful, eccentric outfits are all on display in this drug-fueled underground. Some do come across a little ridiculous but for the most part, they fit the tone of the movie.
As I briefly mentioned, some of the acting is a little suspect. The actors are not helped by some seriously cringe-worthy dialogue though. Dialogue that usually involves talk about sex and it all seems a bit misplaced. As does the occasional attempt at humour, which unfortunately never raised a smile from me. Thankfully there are a few exceptions when it comes to the performances. Josh Burdett plays the desperate and depressing drug addict William Knight very well. Much more experienced actor Ian Reddington (best known for his roles in Eastenders and Coronation Street) is another highlight and he excels when he is given something good to work with, which is very clear in the final twenty minutes or so.
Those final twenty minutes are an interesting conclusion to proceedings. Not necessarily an ‘all guns blazing’ finale but it does throw out a few surprises and at least ends the movie on a positive. Mainly in part because it features a lot of interaction with the two previously mentioned actors.
There’s a clear Tarantino-influence in Red Devil. It’s almost more than influence because it’s there in the music, style, the dialogue-heavy script and the continuous use of guns. As far as influences go, it’s not a bad one to have but Red Devil never gets close to the greatness of Tarantino’s movies.
There’s some enjoyment to be had here, and there’s definitely an audience for a British movie about sex, guns, and drugs but there’s also other movies that do it much better than the instantly forgettable Red Devil.
Dir: Savvas D. Michael
Scr: Savvas D. Michael
Cast: Steven Berkoff, Jack Turner, Fernanda Diniz, Ian Reddington
Prd: Andrew Downer, Raul Mancera, Steven Paul
Music: Magic Cactus
DoP: Andreas Neo
Runtime: 95 minutes
Red Devil will be in UK Cinemas on Friday 23rd Nov