Overlooked Film of the Week- #4
When I leave the theater after witnessing the birth of an artist, there is absolutely nothing like it as a film fan. I am 24 years old, and I have had very few film experiences in that span of film love in which I had a life-altering, changing experience. There are not many movies where the movie gets completely under my skin, cementing itself into my heart and soul. Watching the first film of a first-time writer/director/producer/star/editor is something of a marvel. Especially when the director feels like he has been making movies for 20 years.
"Bellflower" is an experience unlike any I have had in my life. A truly original masterpiece from a gifted first-time filmmaker. When I saw the film for the first time, I knew I loved it but it was so out there that I had no idea what I just saw. I knew I wanted to revisit the film again, and so I felt for OFW, it was the perfect time. I was once again flattened by the experience, drained by it. It is a very strange, sometimes brutal film. But at the same time so deeply personal and heartfelt that it is hard to resist.
The film opens with quick shots of violence, fire and blood. It is all underlined by a very melancholy song. Then there is a quote by Lord Humungus from Mad Max 2. Then we quickly meet Woodrow (Evan Glodell) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson.) These boys are lifelong friends who moved from Wisconsin to California. They spend their days making muscle cars and upgraded weapons for the impending apocalypse. These friends have been deeply affected by "Mad Max 2" and all they talk about is Lord Humungus and his gang. They create plans to have their very own gang when the world finally comes to a close.
One night, the two friends go to a bar and meet Milly (Jessie Wisemen) and Courtney (Rebekah Brandes) and the foursome quickly hit it off. Particularly Milly and Woodrow. Milly is a outgoing, outspoken party girl, while Woodrow is more shy and reserved. They still hit it off and their first date is a road trip to Texas to a sleazy dive.
The first stretch of the film we see the close friendship between Woodrow and Aiden. As well as the budding romance between Woodrow and Milly. The first act of the film is funny, charming and very sincere. But in the back of your mind, you never forget the opening and the quick bursts of violence.
As the film wears on, it becomes apparent how unstable both Aiden and Woodrow are. It is easy to tell that the thought of creating a new world order after the apocalypse has gone straight to their heads. Chaos and violence erupts out of them at a moments notice. We see the psychological impact of this daydream taken to the extreme and just how twisted these characters are as a result. Things get very bad quick for these characters, and by that point it is hard to keep your eyes off the screen.
Evan Glodell, Tyler Dawson, Jessie Wisemen and Rebekah Branes make acting look effortless. Each of these special actors give performances that will blow you away. For first time actors, this is a huge accomplishment and hope all four of them go on to have huge careers. They bring these characters to life in a way that is unbelievable.
Evan Glodell not only stars as Woodrow. But he also directed, wrote, produced and edited the film. Not only did he create the film, but he also built the flamethrowers, muscle cars and cameras for the movie. He is a man of many talents and if this is his first film, then we are in for treat for as long as this guy keeps making films. There are scenes were the cameras have smudge and dirt on the lens, which gives the film an authentic, one-of-a-kind feel. It's clear that Glodell poured himself into this project. I don't know if something happened in his personal life, or the life of friends or family, or something he read that inspired him to create "Bellflower" but it's clear how personal this film is. Something inside Glodell was unleashed into the celluloid of this film and the audience is richer for it.
First timers are rarely this hot out of the gate. This is certainly something that will be apart of my life forever, and I would hope for the same experience for all of you. If you have not seen this film, I would strongly suggest you get on Netflix Instant Stream and watch it immediately. As a film addict, this is the type of experience I hope for and I want that for each and every one of my readers. There is absolutely nothing like "Bellflower" anywhere in the history of film, so I hope it will be celebrated.
I am sorry I didn't write an OFW review last week. I had a very busy week of work and had an even busier weekend. So I wasn't in front of my PC as much as I had hoped. To keep up though, I will write one more OFW this week. So keep your eyes open.