Maybe not three hours to shake the world, but mightily impressive in its creative grasp of the inbuilt contradictions of 'epic' political cinema and historical representation, Reds intriguingly yokes romance and revolution to produce a timely monument to dissent. While veteran witnesses to the lives and impact of activist journalists John Reed and Louise Bryant offer conflicting memories in documentary inserts, Beatty and co-writer Trevor Griffiths construct a heroic love story textured as a dialectical biopic. The Russian October stands as an emotively agitational centrepiece, but the film's focus remains on the American socialist heritage and radical tradition: a deliberately patterned weave that acknowledges provocative contrasts - between Greenwich Village intellectualism and the rank-and-file labour struggles of the Wobblies, between organisation and 'culture', between vying CP factions, between enlightened patriarchy and early feminism. Beatty's Reed and Keaton's Bryant observe, criticise, swim against and participate in their times, maintaining a steady fascination through the plausibility of their erratically developing relationship, emphasising that history begins at home, in every sense.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Warren Beatty, Trevor Griffiths|
M Emmet Walsh