Red Rocket

Red Rocket ★★★★

I know that I can't take no more, it ain't no lie
I wanna see you out that door. Baby, bye, bye, bye

Director Sean Baker's follow-up to the wonderful The Florida Project is a compelling look at a deceptive, self-centered, and ultimately self-destructive man who's hit close to (but not quite) rock bottom after a short-lived career in the adult film industry and returns from Hollywood to his self-described shithole Texas hometown to reconnect with his ex (sort of - it's complicated). But as contrite and apologetic as he begins the film, it's not long before his old ways begin to take root again. Simon Rex absolutely knocks it out of the park in this performance as a man who's lived his whole life coasting on his looks, his penis size, and his ability to bullshit and charm those he wants to take advantage of. I wouldn't be surprised to see him leverage this into some more mainstream leading roles in the near future - he brings a manic early Bradley Cooper type of energy to the screen that is absolutely perfect.

I saw this at the Montclair Film Festival, and during the post-screening Q&A, Production Designer Stephonik Youth floated an "unconfirmed reading" of the character Strawberry that I can't stop thinking about, but would love to discuss in the comments below for anyone who's seen the film that wants to tread into spoiler territory.

Overall, the film (much like the main character) is funny, engaging, and dripping with pathos. Baker has done it again. Recommended!

Added to: A24 Ranked

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