Rent/Buy It – Bellflower

Originally I wanted to see Bellflower for two reasons: flame throwing cars and the homage to one of my favorite films, Mad Max (George Miller I will always less than 3 you). Well I got those mixed in with an emotionally stunning and devastating story of heartbreak and finding a way to give a damn about one’s own culpability. Oh and did I mention flame throwers?

Evan Glodell wrote/directed/starred/co-edited/co-shot/made the donuts/I’m sure I’m forgetting other things he did on this knock out feature. This film is a tale of guerilla filmmaking as the filmmakers built their own cameras for the shoot and have worked on the project since 2003 (breakdown of the process at Filmmaker Magazine).

I’ll admit that as the film started rolling, my first thought was “oh boy this is sundance-y” (it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2011). But then the pieces started to lace together and in the next moment I found myself willingly pulled down an ugly rough road of love gone wrong and the battle to place the blame and the fury (c’mon admit it – we’ve all gone to a really dark place when relationships break up). “She done me wrong” tales can teeter into misogyny territory (BadassDigest has something to say about this) but, to me, the film pulls out of this freefall just in the nick of time.

Does some bitter residue remain? You be the judge. But don’t let it obscure the fact that this film showcases a filmmaker with a creative voice and raw, exciting talent. The rest of the cast shine in their roles as well. And a special mention must be made about the music composed by Jonathan Keevil (who was also one of the editors) which is haunting (especially the outro over the images at the end of the film).

Some good reviews at /Film (very smart take), TimeOut New YorkLA Weekly. And please check out the DOPE films that Oscilloscope Laboratories releases. They may have a hard to say name but they’re out there fighting for interesting films to find an audience.

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