Floundering Fools and Flamethrowers

Posted: August 3, 2013 in Joe Giambrone
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Bellflower (2011)

Reckless generation lampoons itself, unintentionally.  Bellflower is a film where every few minutes people are lobotomizing themselves with alcohol.  “Let’s get totally wasted,” is the marching order at least twice in the first half.

The script could really have used some more thought behind it.  No one in the film works at any job, but they keep spending money on muscle cars, trips and an endless supply of booze.

The movie isn’t totally irredeemable, as the camera work is unique and unexpected.  The visuals attempt to make up for the twisted story of 20 something heartbreak, gone off the deep end.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense, as much of the plot is fantasizing (and rather pathetically about being Lord Humungous of The Road Warrior).  The relationships also don’t make a lot of sense as they jump abruptly from state to state, lacking the subtlety and attention to detail of more accomplished writers.

It’s a ham fisted drunken lust for glory with reckless abandon, on several different fronts.  The flamethrower fetish seems to have been real, and on the set as well.  The danger involved was simply laughed off, and safety precautions don’t seem to be in evidence.  Homemade Home Depot flame throwers strapped to backs, cars modified to the point of absurdity, also pumping flames at high pressure out through their exhausts, even shotguns and exploding propane tanks, this is barely a cut above the Jackass series.  Thankfully, nobody died, although one of the filmmakers was nearly taken out by an exploding fan on the Medusa car, which everyone considers the be all of “cool.”

What seems like a great signpost for what’s wrong with generation fuckup, is actually what drives the production.  They take this “cool” car and flames thing seriously.  It’s not meant to be ironic, not a critique.  We are supposed to get behind these wasted imbeciles and their “cool” car, spouting flames, as they imagine themselves Lord Humungous.  Pretty hard to let that slide without some snark.

Still, the film was well received at major film festivals.  It did dare to do something different, on the surface anyway.  Underneath, it’s petty, spoiled drunks wallowing in their heartache to the point of absurdity.  The satire wasn’t there at all, although the targets look pretty ripe and juicy.

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