Two paths cross in British director Andrea Arnold’s debut feature Red Road— not in the story, but in the story mechanics. There’s a tale of a woman, Jackie (Kate Dickie), confronted with the appearance of a harbinger of destruction from her past, Clyde (Tony Curran). And there’s the manner in which this potentially combustive situation unfolds: Jackie is a CCTV security operator who spots Clyde on her monitors and then proceeds to spy on him with the advantage of the technology at her disposal. At once universal and unmistakably modern, Red Road combines elements of both no-nonsense realism and Foucaultian paranoia to produce a unique, not soon forgettable drama.
Click here to read the rest of Michael Joshua Rowin’s review of Andrea Arnold’s long-anticipated Red Road.
And after you’re all caught up, don’t forget to check out Rowin’s interview with Andrea Arnold at Reverse Shot’s main site:
Recently there have been several high-profile films like Caché and A Scanner Darkly involving surveillance recording. Is Red Road’s primary concern with surveillance in regard to one person’s voyeurism, or are Jackie’s job and her inquiries suggestive of something more menacing in modern technology?
AA: I’d been looking at doing something about CCTV because in Britain we have 20% of the world’s cameras on our tiny island—that’s a lot of cameras, and they’ve been increasing gradually over the years. I often looked at the cameras and wondered who’s behind them, who’s watching, what does it mean. Is it Big Brother, are our daily lives going to be constantly watched? And I’d also been wondering why Britain has so many cameras. When I was given this project and the character description of Jackie—because it was an unusual way of starting—it was described that she was cool and aloof and that she had this terrible thing happen in her past, and I had this idea that she was separated from life, she was watching life but not taking part. And I thought she could be a CCTV operator.