Movie Review: Bellflower (2011)

Bellflower is the result of some filthy filmmaking. I do not mean that as they did a poor job, far from it. I mean the shots are so real and intense you can almost smell sweat and whiskey infused body order while sitting in an air conditioned theater. There is a road trip scene where it looks like the camera lens was cleaned with spit and a dirty paper towel. This is not the California you are used to seeing on screen.

Woodrow (Evan Glodell) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson) are lifelong best friends and share the same goal: To be ready for the apocalypse. In their spare time — which seems to be all of their time — they build their own flamethrower and Mad Max looking Road Warrior car with dual flamethrowers mounted on the back. This is the result of kids watching Mad Max 100 times. When the apocalypse happens, they will drive around in this ready for war vehicle with their hand-held flamethrower; wouldn’t you follow them? That is what they are hoping for. Woodrow and Aiden build their gadgets more for fun, they are not completely serious that they expect Armageddon to occur tomorrow, but they wouldn’t mind it if it did.

An unexpected, powerful force arrives between these two friends, though, and her name is Milly. Milly (Jessie Wiseman) and Woodrow hit it off and start spending all of their time together. Their first date involves driving to Texas to eat at a day old meatloaf restaurant. It appears they get off on following through with high stakes dares. The script wisely avoids a love triangle but Aiden does resent that he has lost his best friend to a girl; now who will prepare for the apocalypse with him?

Relationships, however, usually start strong and sometimes go astray. The second half of the film deals with some intense and gut-wrenching episodes on dealing with emotional pain. Add in the always flowing booze which every character seems to live off of as life juice and some not so wise decisions suddenly look very attractive. Glodell, who also wrote and directed Bellflower, shows some of the most realistic and gritty violence which has ever been filmed.

Bellflower is a very good and original debut film. The soundtrack works, the acting is okay, but it’s the cinematography that you will remember the most after the credits have rolled. This low budget experience is a breath of fresh air from over produced and stale studio productions. Just don’t breathe in too deeply or else you might taste some of Medusa’s exhaust or one of the character’s three day old whiskey breath.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
4 Star Rating: Good


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