Red Rocket

Red Rocket ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Mikey is a deeply flawed ex-porn star, fallen on hard times and having to return to his hometown of Texas City to try and restart his life. Sean Baker is always keen to show the parts of America that don't usually make it to Hollywood films. Yet in his way and his shooting style, diners, motels and even doughnut stores can take on a certain iconography in the way he presents them and they become deeply associated with the memory of his films. He also has a way with actors and in Simon Rex, he has found struck gold again, portraying Mikey as a man who never shuts up, unless it comes to him taking responsibility. He has natural charisma and good looks but this disguises a hollowness in his soul, using his wife, his mother-in-law and his neighbour but too ready to skip out when he doesn't need them any more.

There's the possibility of some redemption in his relationship with Strawberry but even that turns out to be nothing more than a meal ticket back to the adult film world. And yes, I couldn't help but a feel a certain ickiness in his relationship with the 17 year old Strawberry even if it highlights the nefarious undercurrent to his outwardly sunny disposition. The final shot is presumably deliberately ambiguous, perhaps a look through Mikey's eyes at how he sees the world, a world that will never live up to his fantasy.

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