Set in the summer of 2016, months before the moody US presidential race that divides Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Red Rocket is a freewheeling comedy-drama, which traces the awkward return of an entertainment movie star to adults to their common sense. Texas City Roots.
Writer-director Sean Baker has a keen eye for the details of everyday life on the fringes of American society, as evidenced by his award-winning films Tangerine and The Florida Project, which earned actor Willem Dafoe an Oscar nomination.
Working from a screenplay co-written by Chris Bergoch, Baker again immerses us in tableaux drenched in corporate sweat and ingenuity in the face of financial hardship, anchored by a scintillating performance from Simon Rex.
He’s irresistible as a talkative opportunist with an X-rated past, who doesn’t always hire a brain full of get-rich-quick schemes before opening his mouth and contradicting his impressive resume of 2,000 movie credits and six AVN (“It’s like the Oscars for what I do”).
Rex’s energy and raw charm are infectious, blanketing the cracks in a walkable terrain that unnecessarily overtakes two hours and noticeably sags before the central character suffocates with the deserts.
After more than 17 years of biting the hand that feeds him in Los Angeles, scruffy porn actor Mikey “Saber” Davies (Rex) returns to his hometown, breaking his promise to never “set foot in Texas again.”
He crashes into the doorstep of his ex-wife Lexi (Bree Elrod) and stepmom Lil (Brenda Deiss) and loudly begs to sleep on their couch until he can get back on his feet. foot.
Lil foolishly agrees to the condition that Mikey contribute at least $200 a month in rent.
With a roof over his head, Mikey reconnects with neighborhood drug dealer Leondria (Judy Hill) and offers to sell him weed “just like back in the day”.
June (Brittney Rodriguez), Leondria’s hard-nosed daughter, expects him to smoke the product, but Mikey proves her wrong and expands her clientele to include hard-hatted workers who frequent a shop of donuts led by Ms. Phan (Shih-Ching Tsou).
His only employee, 17-year-old Raylee aka Strawberry (Suzanna Son), takes Mikey’s breath away, and he sets out to woo the teen away from her boyfriend Nash (Parker Bigham) with more lies piling up around him like a badly built house of cards.
Opening with a blood-filled outburst from NSYNC’s *Bop dancefloor boy band “Bye Bye Bye”, Red Rocket cuts through tricky narrative terrain with scenes of explicit sexual activity and gratuitous immorality from the Rex’s talkative anti-hero.
The script doesn’t let Mikey down gently – transgressions have consequences – but Rex and Son’s on-screen relationship is sweeter than salty and no matter how deep the hustler sinks, part of us roots himself to defy the overwhelming odds. – Sound system
(18, 131 min) Comedy/Drama/Romance. Simon Rex, Bree Elrod, Suzanna Son, Brenda Deiss, Judy Hill, Brittney Rodriguez, Ethan Darbone, Shih-Ching Tsou, Parker Bigham. Director: Sean Baker.
Irish release: March 11 (selected theaters)
Our score: 7.5/10