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Tim Bradstreet

David Mamet's REDBELT

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I looked all over and couldn't find a dedicated thread for REDBELT.

I know we started talking about it somewhere.

If I missed it someone please let me know.

 

Thank the gods I was given the opportunity last night to finally see David Mamet's REDBELT.

 

The film stars the amazing Chiwetel Ejiofor in a stellar, reserved (necessarily) performance that deserves an Oscar look.

Though unfortunately I'm sure his work will be passed over when it comes to the announcements this year. Just not the kind of performance that Hollywood actually recognizes come awards season. Subtlety is almost always overlooked by the Academy and regular citizens alike.

Ejiofor's character, Mike Terry, is an idealist, a man standing up for what is right instead of taking the easy way out. He says almost all he needs to say with his eyes.

And those eye's can look at you with the most startling sincerity. They are a window to his soul, and his soul is that of the true essence of the honorable warrior.

 

Mamet knows the game and the game in question is Jiu-Jitsu.

 

IMDB member, "babubhaut" hits things squarely on the head with this account -

 

"Mamet has followed up his solid thriller Spartan with a drama of intelligence that only he can capture. Complete with the trademark, metered language—every word timed and delivered with precision—this tale may be billed as a mixed martial arts actioner, but it is so much more. The sport itself lends heavily to the plot for sure, but rather than with its moves and choreography, it is the underlying sense of honor that becomes the central focus. Beginning as a straight-forward drama of faith and morality, culminating into what appears to be this Jiu-Jitsu instructor's big chance at success and wealth to keep his fledgling gym in business, Mike Terry soon gets the rug pulled out from under him, fast and hard. I will admit to not having expected the sharp turn of events halfway through as everything Mike Terry has built his life upon ends up leading to his demise, eventually finding him on the edge of throwing all he believes in away forever. A film of respect and sacrifice, greed and deceit, Redbelt goes places you will not be ready for, yet it is handled deftly, causing all the machinations to fall into place and show their true worth in the progression of the story. It all happens for a reason; life sometimes deals you pain and leaves you in a choke hold about to lose air, but as Terry tells his students, there is always an escape."

 

redbelt-poster-big.jpg

 

Why oh fucking why does a film of this quality get lost? I lose such complete faith in my fellow human "movie going" beings.

REDBELT opened on 1,379 screens for one week and made barely a million dollars.

Week two saw that screen total drop to 932 screens and that week's take drop to under $400,000.00

By the third week it was relegated to 82 screens, by week four that had been cut in half.

 

I can only pray that it does better on DVD.

 

Obviously Sony Classics did VERY little to promote this film and it's a real shame.

This is a film with a heart and a soul, there is a pure underlying message, but Mamet never hits the viewer over the head with it.

It's an amazing film that I hope some of you will discover for yourselves.

Amidst all the crud we get handed there are some real gems. Unfortunately we are often left to find them on our own.

 

If you love real stories and honest cinema then I urge you to see REDBELT.

 

- TB

 

PS - This post will be immediately copied into the Non Mainstream Film thread.

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I gotta see this.

 

SPARTAN I actually rented and never watched for some moron reason.

 

I was breakin up with my ex at that time and she kept breakin all my shit.

 

I don't think I sat down and watched anything until I was truly rid of her.

 

I'll make it a double feature.

 

*Expecting to see alot of Rebecca Pidgeon in these movies...

 

-TL

 

 

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I LOVE Spartan.

 

Not a lot of Rebecca Pidgeon though. Some, not a lot.

For good RP time you gotta go The Spanish Prisoner or Heist as I'm sure you know ;)

 

- tb

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Also, I was delighted to see former student and good friend of Bruce Lee, Dan Inosanto in a key role in this film.

Dan was the first of Lee's students to master the art of Jeet Kune Do, the martial arts style created by Lee.

He holds numerous belts in various martial arts including Asian, American & Brazilian disciplines such as Muay Thai, Pentjak Silat & Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Also, Inosanto is an accomplished weapons practitioner.

 

He still operates a martial arts school (The Inosanto Academy) in Marina Del Rey, California.

 

Supercool.

 

- TB

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You know what?

 

HEIST drove me nuts.

 

I'm gonna go ahead and blame the VERY ridiculous Trailers for the film, for really messing with my focus as I watched it.

 

I think Mamet's biggest mistake was getting DeVito in there.

 

It takes a cinematic GIANT to antagonize Gene Hackman in a film, and even though I think DeVito is high up there, I had trouble eating it up.

 

There was also something about Hackman that was off in this one. I honestly think he was comin to the end of things.

 

Now I take the little I can get with those LOWE's commercials.

 

Talkin Rebecca, I loved that Mamet brought her over to the few episodes of The Shield he did in 2004.

 

Great storyline, she plays the wife of a serial killer who she thought was no more than the dream workaholic husband.

 

This Ejiofor dude has me intrigued.

 

I first saw him with Wahlberg in Four Brothers and then with Liotta in Slow Burn (GREAT fuckin movie btw).

 

I wasn't crazy about him in SERENITY.

 

-TL

 

 

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Redbelt is fantastic! Just got my Bluray in the other day.

 

I thought the trailers and the poster gives WAY too much away in the movie. I don't know of another trailer that gave THAT much away.

 

Glad you got to see it Tim!

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This Ejiofor dude has me intrigued.

 

I first saw him with Wahlberg in Four Brothers and then with Liotta in Slow Burn (GREAT fuckin movie btw).

 

I wasn't crazy about him in SERENITY.

 

-TL

 

I first saw him in Dirty Pretty Things, and then Inside Man.

 

He was fantastic in Children of Men which I felt shoulda at least been NOMINATED for Best Picture. It was only nominated for a few minor awards (screenplay and cinematography) and lost both of them.

 

That movie was CRIMINALLY neglected by the masses.

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Children of Men heads the top of my list of best films I've seen in the last 5 years.

REDBELT is heading my list currently for '08.

 

Some films just strike a chord.

 

 

- TB

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I don't know of another trailer that gave THAT much away.

 

Ever see the trailer for John Q?

It was the cliff notes version of the film.

 

;)

 

- TB

 

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Ever see the trailer for John Q?

It was the cliff notes version of the film.

 

;)

 

- TB

 

 

Ah yes, the Robert Zemeckis school of cutting a trailer.

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Why oh fucking why does a film of this quality get lost? I lose such complete faith in my fellow human "movie going" beings.

 

I refer you to the general conversation in the pwz thread. You may find the answer there.

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I just saw this.

After recently having to endure a string of shit films it was extremely refreshing to curl up with this magnificent piece of work.

Ejiofor was incredible. Mamet rarely lets me down. Thank goodness someone still knows how to make a film.

There are times I wonder.

 

I don't agree with everything Tasha says here, specifically "The film unravels a bit in the last few moments, amid unanswered story questions and a simplistic climax . . . "

Strongly disagree with that, I think she missed some things. But almost everything else she says is in the zone.

 

Redbelt review (mild spoilers)

 

 

 

Trudell

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Maybe it's because I haven't seen enough Mamet, but I thought the story elements were somewhat contrived. That's not a big deal because, overall, it was an interesting story. A quote from the review you cited, "And while the physical combat is minimal—this is a character drama, not a traditional martial-arts film—the emotional battles are immense." That's what was interesting to watch.

The poster art didn't help this film any. It makes it look like just another fight film. So totally missing the mark.

 

k-skye

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Marketing this film had to be a challenge but it shouldn't have been an impossible task.

I agree that the poster is a little misleading. Someone even mentioned that it gives the ending away . . But that's not really so accurate.

If you've seen the film you recognize the image but if you haven't seen it then why wouldn't the poster image suggest any ol fight in the film?

 

Plus I think that if you are even slightly particular about the films you see then you know a Mamet film isn't just going to be a 90 minute

Mixed Martial Arts competition. If someone assumes it's going to be a big fight film then . . . duh.

 

The silver lining in someone renting this expecting "Bloodsport" is that some of those people may be pleasantly surprised there is a story here, and some excellent performances.

Bonus!

 

 

 

Trudell

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"And while the physical combat is minimal—this is a character drama, not a traditional martial-arts film—the emotional battles are immense."

 

That quote sums this film up pretty damn well.

 

- TB

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The silver lining in someone renting this expecting "Bloodsport" is that some of those people may be pleasantly surprised there is a story here, and some excellent performances.

Bonus!

Trudell

 

Sadly, this is the reason I did not go see this film. When the DVD hit, from the looks of the cover, it just didn't do anything for me, and it looked like just another mixed martial arts/wrestling film.

 

I want to thank Tim and everyone else who recomended this film. This is one of the best films I've seen this year.

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Fuck yeah! Attaboy J Web.

So glad you dug it.

 

I guess maybe they should have marketed the film a bit differently so as to appeal to the right audience.

If they gave me stills or just let me run with the concept I would have loved to have kicked this poster's ass ;)

 

- TB

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Fuck yeah! Attaboy J Web.

So glad you dug it.

 

I guess maybe they should have marketed the film a bit differently so as to appeal to the right audience.

If they gave me stills or just let me run with the concept I would have loved to have kicked this poster's ass ;)

 

- TB

 

Go for it Tim!

 

Plus I was disappointed that Max Martini (who plays the Police officer friend Joe) wasn't in the marketing, his name's not even on the poster. and he's got one of the most pivotal roles in the film.

 

 

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Max Martini was awesome.

 

Watched this again last night with Jim Daly and we talked at length about how Chiwetel Ejiofor DESERVES a nomination for best actor this year.

Knowing the Academy tendencies I have a strong feeling he'll be completely overlooked.

We'll know soon enough. Then I can bitch about the injustice ;)

 

Hope Jim chimes in with his thoughts.

 

- TB

 

PS - And I sent him home with Spartan too! Can't wait to hear what he thought about that overlooked masterpiece.

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Guest AdminGuyX

So I watched this film today, finished it about half an hour ago actually.

 

Every time I think I have Mamet pegged, he spins around and reverse ridge hands me in the fucking windpipe.

 

I absolutely LOVED this movie, and it was not even close to what I was expecting.

 

Now, I wasn't expecting bloodsport. I know better. I've seen and ADORE Spartan, I enjoyed Heist, House of Games, State and Main is a big favorite. I even like his Tv show, The Unit.

 

Still, I was not expecting what REDBELT delivered.

 

I didn't see it coming, and it put me in a choke hold and left me unconscious on the fucking mat.

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Chiming in!

 

The title of this movie really turned me off to seeing it. I thought oh shit...it's going be like Eric Robert's "Best of the Best" or something worse. I couldn't get in the mood to watch it. I was also afraid it would be all about the Ultimate Fighting stuff, which in my opinion has none of what is excting about watching a boxing match at all. It mainly ends up with two sweaty men on the ground in their tighty-whities groping each other into submission. YAWN. I would rather watch something choreographed. NOT entertaining at all. The UFC of the 90's was much cooler to watch in my opinion, this should be called "Grapple TV" and bring back the mix of fighters or outlaw grappling in UFC entirely.

 

Anyhoo...

 

Red Belt just put me in my seat immediately. Thank god for it being 90% human drama, and realistically depicting the action. The opening of the film was so effective in setting the tone. Normally, when I go into a film that is supposedly about martial arts and with the star of this film having displayed those action skills in Serenity...I might be waiting for some ass-kicking. Honestly, I felt calm because his character was calm. I was patient because the character was, and wow it made for an awesome experience when he finally gets around to taking a stand. the director does it all with class and realism. This was a character I am not used to seeing, and his performance was so unique....

 

yeah...I do think he deserves an Oscar. Fuck, fuck yeah.

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My favorite Mike Terry line from the film -

 

Chet Frank: Ah, but you train people to fight.

Mike Terry: No, I train people to prevail.

 

The rest of Terry's line goes like this - . . . "In the street, in the alley, in combat, the bodyguard, the cop, the soldiers. One rule - put the other guy down. And you have to train in order to do that. Any... any staged contest must have rules."

 

Nice to hear from you JMD III.

Another satisfied customer ;)

 

- TB

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Guest AdminGuyX

An alternate title for the film could have been "No good deed goes unpunished". Every act of kindness in the film is rewarded with suffering of some kind, which is often what happens in life.

 

And the other thing that grabbed me was just how many characters were ball busters in this thing. Every time Terry turned around someone else was busting his balls about something he did, and usually, something he did to help someone. If they were not doing that, they were screwing him over in some way.

 

The subtle and complex friendship/love between Mike and Laura was so well done, and intense, I practically got all misty.

 

I often tell my friends that the ending better be the best part of your story. If you have a solid opening, great, excellent development in the second act, awsome. How's it end? Is the ending the BEST part of the story? It better be.

 

One of my favorite things about David Mamet is that he never cheaps out on the endings. He never betrays the internal story logic, and he never serves a trumped up ending that betrays previously established character work to contrive a twist in the end.

 

He always makes sure the endings are the best part of his stories. I just love that.

 

:)

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This film COMPLETELY blew me away.

You sometimes don't realize how much we're surrounded by mediocrity until you see something exceptional.

Red Belt stands alone above all the films I've seen this year, even Dark Knight, but only because this was so unexpected.

I can't thank you guys enough for the recommendation!

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