Red Rage (billed as Red Devil in the US) is the third instalment from the Saints and Savages production team, written and directed by Savvas D Michael. It is also a movie with the promise afforded from winning best feature at this year’s European Film Festival. Despite this potential, though, it does feel stuck between two genres and could have benefitted from revelling in one over the other.
There are three key plots that converge in a twist-filled climax which are all linked by the powerfully addictive quasi-methamphetamine “red devil”. Firstly, we meet Oscar (Jack Turner) and Ella Fernanda Diniz in an hilarious opening scene with Oscar’s mildly senile and racist mother (Linda Marlowe). However, Oscar is keen to learn where his addict brother may be, so that he and Ella can murder any remaining dealers and finally rid their town, Conet County, of all traces of the drug.
The second storyline focuses on the drug-addicted Riley (Jamie Crew) who limps from place to place desperate for red devil, even willing to murder to obtain it. Only at the end does the audience realise the purpose of the third plot which revolves around friendless marijuana dealer Hugo (Ian Reddington). Hugo has cultivated a new marijuana hybrid which he has christened “triple cream dream”. Luckily for him, even though he is next on the vigilante couple’s hit list, he has a gun-toting sidekick in Gabriel (Matt Lapinskas).
The volume of murderous urges across the plots creates a kill rate akin to an atypical Tarantino blockbuster. Indeed, there are many nods to the filmmaker in the movie, but the only one which adds to the flick is the stylish Spaghetti-Western inspired score which evokes the feel of Django Unchained. Music is one of the greatest attributes to the work. Even the decision to underscore Riley’s most wretched moments with operatic arias adds a poignant tragicomic depth that transcends the comedy-thriller genre the film is created as.
Even though the hair-raising moments are underwhelming, the deft, dry comedic touches within the script would be lauded were they in a Guy Ritchie production. In this respect, just as the picture meanders between two genres, Michael seems to be caught between drawing on Ritchie and Tarantino.
Overall, Red Rage is the funniest of Michael’s British gangster trilogy, even if it is daft and far from thrilling.
Red Rage is released digitally on demand on 12th April 2021.
Watch the trailer for Red Rage here: