Red Rocket

Red Rocket ★★★★½

Red Rocket, Sean Baker's follow-up to the award-winning and critically acclaimed The Florida Project, centres on Mikey Saber (Simon Rex), a fading porn star who entirely lacks any level of self-awareness. The porn industry informs the screenplay by Baker and Chris Bergoch rather than focusing on it, and it superbly demonstrates their knack for writing stories about people within life's margins and exposing them to the light. It commences with Mikey washing up on the porch of his abandoned onscreen partner and wife, Lexi (Bree Elrod), and it unfurls like a working-class version of Josh and Benny Safdie's Uncut Gems as every undertaking feels preordained to blow up in grand style. There's a magnificent, award-nominated performance from Suzanna Son as Strawberry, a seventeen-year-old who works at the counter of the local doughnut shop. And while it's entirely distasteful that the washed-out and forty-seven-year-old Mikey is soon grooming her to be a porno actress as he loafs around the gulf coast region of Texas, their interactions are entirely memorable.

Paul Elliott liked this review