Back during this year’s SXSW, I saw a number of excellent films, stuff that I walked out of the festival absolutely raving about: Joe Cornish’s Attack The Block, James Wan’s Insidious, and James Gunn’s Super, just to name a few. But the most challenging, disturbing, and—yeah, I’m gonna say it– haunting film that I saw at SXSW this year was made by a total newcomer, a dude I hadn’t heard of prior to this year’s festivities: Evan Glodell, whose Bellflower continues to rock my lame ass every time I see it. The film recently arrived on Blu-ray, and so I was given yet another opportunity to ponder Glodell’s bizarre vision. Did it hold up upon a fourth viewing? Does the crystal-clear Blu-ray format ruin the flick’s down-and-dirty aesthetic? Is Bellflower still one of the best films I’ve seen this year? Find out after the jump, folks.
Writer/director Evan Glodell’s Bellflower is one of the more divisive films of the year: judging from the conversations I’ve had with people since seeing the film at SXSW (all the way back in March), it appears that Glodell’s film is a “love it or hate it” kinda picture. By now, you’ve probably seen the film’s trailers, posters, and flame-spewing car (named Medusa), and you’re probably wondering what the hell Bellflower is all about. On the one hand, I’ve seen the film three times now and I’m still not sure I know exactly what it’s “about”. On the other hand, I took a crack at figuring it out when I spoke to Glodell earlier this week. Here’s a few of the highlights:
Glodell– like just about everyone else that’s seen his film– has a hard time giving Bellflower a one- or two-sentence description, and agrees that it defies easy categorization.
Glodell (who also appears in the film as Woodrow, the film’s lead character) says that, while he understands that the reaction to the film has been mixed, he hasn’t spoken to anyone that didn’t have positive things to say about his debut and is very excited that it’s been so well received.
Medusa– the fire-breathing car that appears throughout the film (and is heavily featured in Oscilloscope’s marketing for the film)– is actually Glodell’s standard, “going to the store to pick up milk and eggs” ride. It’s parked out in front of his house as we speak.
Glodell built his own cameras for the film, and intends to use a new rig for his follow-up project. Pressed for details about what that follow-up might be, all he’d say was that he’s got a first-draft completed on a script and that– like Bellflower– the film will defy easy categorization.
Check out the full interview after the jump:
Bellflower director Evan Glodell has style to spare and he could stand to spare some if he doesn’t know how to use it meaningfully. What starts off as a lifeless love story with a manic pixie dream girl eventually devolves into a narcissistic wasteland where a guy who gets royally screwed over begins to drown in dark nightmares of revenge, self-pity, and overwrought violence. Any stabs at honest emotions are undermined by the heavy-handed direction coupled with Glodell’s ill-advised decision to cast himself in the lead role. Brief moments of humor and humanity leak through the veneer, mainly from co-star Tyler Dawson, but everything is overshadowed by overgrown children calling each other “dude” and taking time off from the jobs they clearly don’t have.
I’ve tried to steer clear on knowing much about Bellflower. The reactions I’ve heard about it are positive, but the reactions also tend to be dumb-struck, awe-struck, and hovering around “What the fuck was that?” That’s a potent combination and so I’m staying in the dark so I can possibly share in that reaction. That’s why I haven’t watched the new trailer for the film, but you can check it out after the jump. Bellflower opens August 5th.
Based on the buzz out of Sundance and SXSW, Bellflower is situated at the top of my most anticipated list. Thankfully, Oscilloscope picked up the film for a planned summer release, so I won’t have to wait too long. Bellflower comes from the mind of Evan Glodell, credited as star, writer, director, producer, and editor on the DIY production. The story centers on two friends (Glodell and Tyler Dawson) who spend their free time “building flame-throwers and weapons of mass destruction in hopes that a global apocalypse will occur and clear the runway for their imaginary gang ‘Mother Medusa.’”
I’ve read just enough to know that the film is surprising enough to warrant a fresh first viewing. Thankfully, the first teaser trailer abides, seducing the viewer with critical praise and a hypercool tone rather than story details. Watch the trailer after the break.