Wednesday, February 10, 2016

These youths going out with bang, not whimper

Woodrow and Aiden in the ´72 Skylark they outfitted with flamethrowers, surveillance cameras, and an internal oxygen supply.
Woodrow and Aiden in the '72 Skylark they outfitted with flamethrowers, surveillance cameras, and an internal oxygen supply.
About the movie
Action, Adventure
MPAA rating:
for disturbing violence, some strong sexuality, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use
Running time:
Release date:
Rebekah Brandes; Vincent Grashaw; Evan Glodell; Jessie Wiseman; Tyler Dawson
Directed by:
Evan Glodell
On the web:
Bellflower Official Site

Bellflower, the stunning, screaming, screeching, and revelatory muscle-car and flamethrower-fetishizing indie romantic thriller from newbie filmmaker Evan Glodell, is a delightfully strange hybrid creature.

It's part romance (think Cameron Crowe's Say Anything - but with guns); part sincerehead postadolescent dudescape (Richard Linklater's Slacker); part savage apocalyptic sci-fi nightmare souped up with Mad Max, Fight Club, and Easy Rider; and part hipster manifesto. And it's all about rage.

At turns viciously funny and plain vicious, it's a portrait of a generation of young men adrift between harsh reality (a country at war, an economy spinning out of control) and an even harsher fantasy world, a media-created dream of horror films, video games, and angry music.

We get a taste of that rage at the very top: The film opens with a strange, backward-moving look at the story's bloody denouement. It's a tantalizing tease that really gets its hooks into you.

The story is simple. Glodell stars as Woodrow, who spends his free time with fellow jobless slacker BFF Aiden (Tyler Dawson) building muscle cars and homemade flamethrowers. Obsessed with Mel Gibson's car-and-gun fever dream, Mad Max, the perpetual adolescents discuss all the fun they'll have once the apocalypse comes. Their role in the Eschaton? To raise a gang named Mother Medusa and go around blowing stuff up.

The two friends, who live in a creepy suburb of Los Angeles that's right out of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, decide to get the party started by customizing a 1972 Buick Skylark with flamethrowers, surveillance cameras (real digi-cameras that Glodell uses throughout the film), and an internal oxygen supply (for when the planet's atmosphere is zapped by aliens?).

The slackers' lives change dramatically when babes enter the picture. Woodrow looses what grip he had on reality when he falls hard for Milly (Jessie Wiseman), an alterna-rock-chic version of the film-noir femme fatale who announces, "I'll hurt you." Aiden is likewise captivated by Milly's pal, Courtney (Rebekah Brandes).

Things take a very bloody turn as Woodrow's world is shattered when Milly betrays him.

   Shot for $17,000 - not even loose change in Hollywood - Bellflower is a virtuoso performance by a genuine new American auteur: In addition to directing and starring in the film, the 31-year-old Glodell also wrote, coedited, and coproduced it. Bellflower has plenty of rough edges and it suffers from a bad case of hipper-than-thou-ness. But it's a triumph.

Contact staff writer Tirdad Derakhshani at 215-854-2736 or

Inquirer Sideshow Columnist
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter