RED | Chicago Reader


Rated PG-13 110 minutes 2010

Adapted from a DC graphic novel by Warren Ellis and Cully Hammer, this action comedy benefits from a lovely flatness to the images and from blocky compositions that permit fleet editing—sitting in the theater, you may feel as if you're quickly turning some very large pages. Bruce Willis plays a retired special-ops warrior who's trying to figure out why government agents suddenly want him dead; Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Brian Cox, and Helen Mirren are the retired spies who help him out. Much of the enjoyment comes from seeing these respected thespians so thoroughly embody cartoon characters; it's like Sidney Lumet directing Space Jam. The film preserves many of Ellis's amoral one liners (best delivered by Malkovich and by Richard Dreyfuss as one of the villains), though as in much of his writing, the fun is discolored by a profound cynicism. Robert Schwentke directed.

Film Credits

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Director: Robert Schwentke

Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mark Vahradian, Gregory Noveck and Jake Myers

Cast: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban, Mary-Louise Parker, Brian Cox, Julian McMahon, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ernest Borgnine, James Remar and Richard Dreyfuss

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