SXSW FILM 2011
By Don Simpson | April 2, 2011
Director: Evan Glodell
Writer(s): Evan Glodell
Starring: Evan Glodell, Jessie Wiseman, Tyler Dawson
I read you loud and clear Evan Glodell! After having my still-beating heart ripped from my chest and fed to me on an apocalyptic platter six months ago, I am right there with you. Women are the most dastardly and diabolical creatures on earth. It is enough to drive a grown man insane!
Okay, now that I have lost the attention (and respect) of all of the female readers in our audience with my bitter snarkiness…
Bellflower follows best friends, Woodrow (Evan Glodell) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson), as they get their two-man imaginary gang “Mother Medusa” ready for a global apocalypse. To prepare for the end of days, the duo builds weapons of mass destruction, such as an honest to goodness flame-thrower and a tricked-out car named MEDUSA. Woodrow and Aiden, Mad Max fans since they were kids growing up in Wisconsin, are not violent guys in practice, they just really dig the cinematic concept of absolute annihilation.
Woodrow meets Milly (Jessie Wiseman) during a alcohol-fueled cricket-eating contest and it is love at first bite, that is until…well, I will just say that if you have been through an emotionally devastating break-up, you will know that heartache sometimes feels like the end of the world. And rather than Woodrow just crying a few tears in his beer, Bellflower spirals into a bitter and jaded tale of betrayal, infidelity, and violence that unleashes the menacing apocalyptic fantasies within Woodrow’s subconscious.
Painfully discussing the highs and lows of love, as well as revealing the horrors of acting on impulse alone, writer-director Glodell utilizes some not-so-traditional cinematography techniques (thanks to cinematographer Joel Hodge), magnificently penetrating sound design, and a seemingly haphazard non-linear plot structure to convey Woodrow’s psychologically decaying perception of the uncompromising world around him. Glodell does not rely on his cinematically artful bells and whistles alone to sell Woodrow’s breakdown; he also depends on his own mad thespian skills while portraying (with ugly and brutal realism, I might add) Woodrow’s amazing transformation from nice guy to raging monster.
I entered the SXSW 2011 screening of Bellflower expecting a post-apocalyptic science fiction thriller (something along the lines of a modern day homage to Mad Max) and, admittedly, I was a wee bit confused by the amount of time Glodell dedicates to Woodrow and Milly’s budding romance. It turns out that Bellflower has a lot more in common with Blue Valentine than Mad Max thanks to its incredibly realistic and deeply emotional portrayal of the ecstatic highs and gruesome lows of a relationship, but Bellflower dredges the lower depths of hell (going places that Blue Valentine would never dare), quickly mutating into a demented fantasy flick featuring a bit of the old ultra-violence.
Also check out my interview with Evan Glodell.