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Red Dirt [VHS]

3.5 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews


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Product Details

  • Actors: Dan Montgomery Jr., Aleksa Palladino, Karen Black, Peg O'Keef, Glenn Shadix
  • Directors: Tag Purvis
  • Writers: Tag Purvis
  • Producers: Cyril Bijaoui, Sean Gibbons
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Fox Lorber
  • VHS Release Date: October 22, 2002
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005OCPV
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #420,795 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Family secrets, simmering anger, and reporessed sexual desires vividly capture life in the Deep South. Griffith, a morose young man, orphaned as a child, dreams of leaving home but feels tied down by his cousin (who is also his lover) and his invalid aunt. When a mysterious man appears to rent the family cottage, Griffith is tantalized with the possibility of escape and homoerotic fulfillment.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As a straight male who has enjoyed the campy work of horror actress Karen Black for several years, I purchased this film simply to watch her performance as the emotionally troubled guardian/aunt of the young man whose story is told in "Red Dirt." In a role that I at first thought more suitable for Jessica Lange, Karen Black turned in an Oscar-caliber performance. I was utterly stunned by the breadth and depth that she brought to the complex character she played.
As I sat in front of my TV set, I suddenly found I was no longer watching the movie with the sole intention of focusing on Ms. Black. I discovered I was completely engrossed in this deeply moving tale about a young man who, without fully understanding why, is trying to find himself a place in the world where he can find love, inner peace and fulfillment. He longs to leave the red dirt farm he shares with his aunt, believing the key to his heart's desires lies elsewhere. Even the sexual relationship he is carrying on with his female cousin no longer fills the void gnawing at him.
Shortly after the young man posts a "For Rent" sign for a adjoining guest house on the property, a drifter comes along and moves in. Having no male figures in his life, the young man quickly forms a friendship with the stranger. We learn that the stranger is a free-spirited man who has uprooted his own life in order to find the very things that our young hero yearns for. This commonality allows the two men to become best friends.
Soon, the two men talk about leaving the farm to explore the "world beyond the farm" together. But the young man is conflicted by thoughts of leaving his aunt alone and his cousin behind.
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Format: DVD
This is Purvis's first film, and it benefits and suffers from typical first-film issues: great attention to cinematography, colors, scenery, etc., some difficulty in plot and character development and pacing. This is an indie in the truest sense. I think, however, it merrits viewing.
The story focuses on a young man and his female cousin, both the last two of their generation stuck in a small, rural Southern town. The red dirt of the title is a prominent thematic in both the soil of the land and even the tint to the cousin's hair. Out of pure drugery and directionlessness, the two cousins engage in a sexual relationship devoid of any passion--a metaphor for their entire condition in this small town.
The young man lives with his aunt who has suffered from mental illness ever since the death of his parents, and an important side story examines the aunt's emergence from mental illness to greater participation in the world.
Eventually, an attractive stranger shows up to rent the cottage in back of the house, played by very attractive Walt Goggins. The stranger and the young man become fast friends, having much in common and sharing a need for "direction." The development of this relationship should have been the focus of the plot, but Purvis glosses over how and why the friendship takes on the intensity that it is.
In short, the two men are falling in love--but it takes a while to get to the point where they are clear that that is happening to them. When it finally does--watch out! Their kiss is the most romantic kiss in cinema I have seen, gay or straight. it is not a sloppy, sexual kiss at all--it is a meaningful, sensual kiss that is at once an act of coming-out, an act of defiance, and act of self-preservation, and an act of intense love.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'll admit that I only watched this movie when Amazon marketed it to me (probably because I've bought a gay-themed movie sometime within the past decade). But then, I was glad that it was brought to my attention.
"Red Dirt" escaped my radar. Was it even released in the mainstream? Probably not "big screen," but was it even released in indie houses? Anyway, this movie tells the tale of Griffith, who seems to amble about aimlessly through life with some sense of obligation toward his aunt and no way to release his sexual urges except with his only-too-willing cousin. Why do southern-themed movies always seem to be so steeped in social obligation and the concomitant suffocation and angst?
The wonderful scenery and excellent directing job, and empathetic characters (some outstanding, though not superb, acting talent) truly bring you into a mythical world somewhere in the south (I forget where). The story line is somewhere crossed between "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "The Lords of Discipline": drifter (Lee Todd) comes by and "befriends" Griffith, who is so mired in his tragic existence on the family farm that it's difficult to tell if his relationship with Lee Todd is based on sheer boredom with his own existence than with some true feeling underlying homosexual tension, as we're led to believe.
As far as a "gay interest" film (kinda), though, this film is refreshing. Gay politics and stereotypes do not play into the film at all. The characters are remarkably empathetic, and you somehow feel Griffith's pain. The line is blurred, however, between the "male bonding friendship" between the two men and homosexual love, a distinction the movie would have done well to explore.
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