Reds (1981)

reds-movie-poster-1020541487“If you were mine, I wouldn’t share you with anybody or anything. It’d be just you and me. We’d be the center of it all. I know it would feel a lot more like love than being left alone with your work. ” – Eugene O’Neill

Number of Times Seen –  2 or 3 times (1 Aug 2016)

Brief Synopsis – Biopic of activist and journalist John Reed who fought for socialism in the US during World War I and his love affair with writer Louise Bryant.

 Take on it – This is a film that I wanted to appreciate more than I did.

I know that it is considered to be a film making masterpiece and one of the greatest epic ever made, but I have trouble seeing that.

I think the story moves along too slowly and reaches points of boredom along the way.

I don’t mind long movies (and in many cases even prefer them), but this one just felt too long because too much is drawn out.

Obviously, it’s quite easy to see that this was a true labor of love for Director/Writer/Actor/Producer Warren Beatty and some consider this his greatest cinematic achievement.

So much of this film works well and I can understand how a film like this could get 12 Oscar Nominations including 3 wins (Best Supporting Actress, Cinematography and Director (for Beatty).

In addition to Beatty, the cast is quite powerful; Diane Keaton, Gene Hackman, Edward Herrmann, Maureen Stapleton, Jack Nicholson, Paul Sorvino, M. Emmet Walsh, Max Wright, William Daniels, Josef Sommer and George Plimpton

One of the things that I really liked about this film is the way that the film is interspersed with lots of real interviews with people who were friends, associates, acquaintances and compatriots of the characters portrayed in the film.  Most of these people are quite old and Beatty began filming these interview nearly a decade before the film was released out of fear that the interviewees would not live long enough due to their ages and a few actually passed away during production.

Yes, this film feels quite epic, but the story is too disjointed and not as effective as it could have been.

Bottom Line – Good epic biopic but it moves way too slowly.  Its easy to see how much this was a labor of love for Beatty. Amazing cast helps a bit. I can understand how this film could garner 12 Oscar Nominations with 3 wins, but the story isn’t as engaging as one would hope. Really liked how they managed to intersperse real interviews with friends and compatriots of Reed and Bryant, but as epic as it may be, it feels too disjointed.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – According to a 2006 interview with Warren Beatty, this was the final Hollywood production to be released with an “intermission”. However, the last Hollywood production to be released with an intermission is Hamlet (1996), clocking in at just over four-hours in length. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy


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6 thoughts on “Reds (1981)

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  6. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Actress – Oscars 1981 | MovieRob

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