Bellflower (2011)

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There was quite a bit of buzz about this film at Sundance. The film is disturbing and it left me flat. In tone it reminded me of the equally disturbing River’s Edge (1986), about a group of emotionless teens that ignore the presence and implications of finding a dead body.

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Two L.A. buddies dream of a Road Warrior type apocalypse and construct a hand-made operational flame thrower. Later, they modify and build a flame-belching interceptor from a ’72 Buick Skylark. The car reminds me of and was obviously inspired by Mel Gibson’s black Mad Max car.

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All is well until a hip and unfaithful woman enters the picture. Bellflower is well-acted, especially by the two female leads. Jessie Wiseman (Milly) is familiar, but I have no idea who she reminds me of. IMDb lists her in two films. She’s stunning.

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Director Evan Glodell constructed the scary apparatus used in the film. His photography is deliberately out of focus. It looks tilt-shifted as if it was filmed through a Lens-Baby. Some of the footage appears to be digitally cross-processed. The flames are real. And there’s blood.

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Bellflower is worth a look. It offers visually distinct cinematography, an unusual storyline, fair enough acting and one hell of a car.

The title refers to an avenue in the Hollywood area.

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