Red Nights is a special and unusual film. It’s beautifully shot, with an amazingly hypnotic soundtrack and compelling performances by its sexy femme fatale leading ladies.
However, it's a difficult film to peg down, making it the wild card of this year’s Midnight Madness line up.
When seeing the trailer, I wasn’t sure what I was in for, because there was nothing I had seen before that I could relate it to: vivid neon cityscapes, an air tight PVC body encasement, a glamourous woman plucking a bullet out of her shoulder with jade claws, striking images set to surreal music.
But how does it all come together?
It’s a ride movie. But unlike any ride movie. When you think about blockbuster films, you compare them to roller coasters. Insidious you could compare to a terrifying haunted house attraction.
Red Nights is something very different. It’s not a roller-coaster, it’s more like a pedal boat; floating through dark forbidden tunnels. Sometimes the water is still, other times, not. It feels like progressing through a guided dream, leading you down the lost hallways of the characters' repressed subconscious.
It never feels contrived or too precious with its symbolism. This is a film of complimentary contrasts: romantic yet perverse, sublime but harrowing, gorgeous and repulsive. It all melts together like the over-flowing fudge sundae you’re too modest to order. You know you want it, though!
Some would complain the narrative is a bit undefined, and it's tough to decide who the protagonist is until the very end. But that never bothered me -- because this film consistently chooses against expectation, making it highly enjoyable to those jaded by more conventional thrillers. If you dig, deeper meanings are there. Nothing happens by chance.
Now tie this together with one of the most surreal and maddening soundtracks in years, and you have a lush ride that invites you to dream with it.
When it all ended, I wanted to have that dream again.
Red Nights screening times:
Friday, Sept. 17. 2:15pm Scotiabank Theatre 2
Sunday, Sept. 19. 5:45 Scotiabank Theatre 11
You can purchase tickets from the official TIFF website.