“Can you feel the sunshine?”
Sean Baker returns with a another banger of a film. Like with most of his films Red Rocket is Baker at his best, where he's capturing the stories of people we rarely get to see on mainstream cinema, people who live in these unique worlds that are so bright and authentic yet covered with realism and sadness.
Red Rocket for me in terms of narrative is closer to Baker's "Starlet" while visually it plays in the same pond that "Tangerine" and "The Florida Project" played in, so its no surprise that Red Rocket is full of vivid colours, humour and huge undertones of sadness.
By the way Simon Rex and his dong deserve all their flowers.
The film is also a character study, well kind of like an obscure-sih, not really sure if obscure is the word to go for but it's very off-beat when we're looking at character studies. This is a vibrant study of someone who is poor and barely making it but trying by all means to get out, it also reflects on the poor communities and how they function, and those people within these communities.
Though this film suffers greatly from running a little bit too long, certain things could have been left on the editing room floor but Baker's need to show us all his character's ways makes the film just dip a little. The plot isn't strong enough to justify the time, and could have easily been trimmed to like an hour forty but man Baker knows how to keep us hooked and engaged through his characters and visuals.
However, I really loved how Baker approached the character of Mickey, played by Rex and how relentless he was in his quest for money and possibly something more, something within him. Micky becomes an asshole we root for and ache for in the end.
Overall, Red Rocket is magnificent film-making and its near-perfect if you ask me, where it may run a little bit too long, the humour keeps you engaged and the visuals keep you smiling while the character's and how Baker observes them breaks your heart a little. Red Rocket seemingly shows us how you can be close to having all you want and BOOM reality, and how the consequences of ones choices can lead to devastation.