Red Rocket

Red Rocket ★★★★½

Damn, Sean Baker just has it. Seeing the new-wave provocateur’s latest in a packed theatre was something else, if only for his singular ability to make an audience amassing hundreds roar with laughter and wince in awkwardness simultaneously. Pretty sure I clocked a few walkouts, and if it wasn’t departures it was faces (mostly young) glancing across at those they came in with, double checking if they were allowed to enjoy the slice of icky, trailer-trash fantasia unfolding before them. Red Rocket is yet another relentless attack on convention from Baker, feeling like a continuation in a saga of new-age *loser* movies, Uncut Gems being the obvious parallel with its self-centred protagonist and its just-gone-by period setting. Baker’s decision to ground this story in the 2016 election period is wise, tactfully dodging the COVID dilemma as Trump’s propagandist drivel spills into the consciousness of Simon Rex’s knockout characterisation. Wall-to-wall with non-actors, on-location environments, and Italian-style crash zooms (Sean supposedly took inspiration from his favourite Italian porn/exploitation films), this is easily one of the wildest films of the year. Also features one of the greatest shots of on-screen penis I think I’ve ever seen. Beyond worth the price of admission.