Red Rocket (2021) Review

A Review On Sean Bakers 2021 Film “Red Rocket”.

Red Rocket (2021) Review

Red Rocket is a 2021 film that’s written and directed by the risky yet astonishing independent filmmaker Sean Baker, who also wrote and directed the films Tangerine, The Florida Project, and Starlet. Red Rocket stars the one and only Simon Rex, who you may know from the infamous ‘Scary Movie’ franchise. I had the chance to view this film a couple days after its wide release on Christmas at, of course, Harkins Estrella Falls; however, my theater experience was not as pleasant as the overall film. I arrived quite late and couldn’t wait in line for a drink as the theater was extremely packed that Monday afternoon. Everyone was there to watch Spider-Man, proving Scorsese’s point that Disney films are taking over theaters and not giving room to independent films such as this one. That’s neither here or there…what I’m here to write about is the film and that I’ll do.

Red Rocket was an absolute blast and might just be my new favorite of the year. Simon Rex stars as a narcissistic actor named ‘Mikey Saber’, who never made it very far and falls back to his hometown in Texas. This film uses its setting extremely well and creates a humid yet honest atmosphere you can’t help but sink into. Simon Rex’s performance absolutely sinks into the atmosphere and creates a powerful and funny, yet dark character study. Mikey Saber is absolutely a hard to like character, but boy oh boy is he an extremely entertaining and captivating character. It’s hard to look away from his awful decisions and crazy situations he puts himself into. This film is also filled with other entertaining characters, such as Mikey’s very regretful and annoyed wife ‘Lexi’ played by Bree Elrod, his neighbor and new friend ‘Lonnie’ played by Ethan Darbone, and the 17 year old Mikey grooms and “Falls in love with” ‘Strawberry’, played by Suzanna Son. The characters feel authentic and really work well with the film, helping build the story and making it feel honest.

This film is one of the most original films I’ve seen in some time. I imagine Sean Baker having quite some weight on his shoulders, knowing his next project after 2017’s ‘The Florida Project’ with how much praise it received. This story he took on was extremely risky and no where near a safe play, but Sean Baker being the unconventional and risky filmmaker he is, took it on and absolutely nailed it. He also edited this film and it is insane… in a good way. This films also includes a political message that, although it’s not hiding itself, it’s also not in plain sight. This film being set in Texas in the midst of the 2016 election and the characters and atmosphere being built off of this leads to it being used as a storytelling technique, and honestly, it works quite well. The ending has been criticized for the way it, without spoiling,  ends so abruptly without much of a conclusion; however, to me, I feel it was the perfect way to end a story like this.

Overall, this film is a character study and Simon Rex kills his performance and I sure hope he at least gets nominated for an Oscar for this role. The story is nothing more than Mikey Saber moving back to his hometown and making his messed up life even worse than it already is. Although that may sound underwhelming, believe me this film is nothing of the sort. Without a doubt this may be my favorite of the year and I’m looking forward to re-watching this!

Red Rocket is currently in theaters, and if you have the chance, please do yourself a favor and go watch this.

4.5 – 5/5 – Who Would’ve Thought There Would Be Oscar Buzz For Simon Rex.