'Bellflower' Review By thedude-abides

Glodell takes the previously accepted rules of the indie genre and turns them on its ass, making Bellflower a fully-equipped 180 complete with Mad Max-inspired Medusas and flame-throwing originality.
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Visuals
I thought independent films were supposed to have heart? While Bellflower isn't without its share of indie film chaff, it comes laden with images of sex, drinking, and a pair of flame-throwing 20-somethings with no lot in life other than the prospect of a looming global apocalypse. Their muscle car, the aptly named Mother Medusa, is the poster child for their Mother Medusa gang -- a Mad Max-inspired road squad equipped to take over the world in the event of nuclear aftermath.

Making his writing, directing, and on-screen debut is Sam Rockwell look-a-like, Evan Glodell. Keep an eye on this guy. Glodell's film, albeit on a much lower budget, stacks up favorably to other recent directorial debuts, Neil Blomkamp's District 9 and Duncan Jones's Moon.

Despite some pretty bad acting at times, mostly from Glodell himself, the originality more than makes up for any of the film's shortcomings. Believe me when I say there is literally no other movie like it. Glodell takes the previously accepted rules of the indie genre and turns them on its ass, making Bellflower a fully-equipped 180 complete with Mad Max-inspired Medusas and flame-throwing originality.

At its core, Bellflower is a love story. However, unlike other contemporary tales involving teenage vampires or star-crossed lovers torn apart by circ*mstance, Bellflower hits hard. When Woodrow (Evan Glodell) meets Milly (a show-stealing Jesse Wiseman) at the local pub during a cricket eating contest, it's love at first sight. However, it's not without warning, as Milly tells Woodrow that sooner or later she'll end up hurting him. And hurt him she does. Good thing he's got his flame thrower.

Aside from Wiseman, who was fantastic in her debut, the acting is pretty atrocious. All is forgiven, however, as the images you are left with stick with you long after seeing it. Bellflower is must-see originality of the rawest order.

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Comments (18)

  1. thedude-abides

    @Herman-B-Hesse Thanks for those compliments, man. Means a lot. And you raise some good points. I actually wondered whether or not Glodell's performance was a calculated one -- perhaps coming off the way he did as sort of a method performance. I guess I just dismissed it since everyone else did such a fine job.

    As per your second observation, that's also a great point. The bromance factor was just as much part of the story as the "romance" aspect, if not more so. Anyway, thanks again for the high marks.

    3 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  2. Herman B. Hesse

    Since it looks like, from the comments, that you're working out your style I'd like to comment. THe strength here is that you speak in your authentic voice. I DID read the whole review and it was easy because I was with a person who was engaging me effectively for the whole way. In fact I think it felt like a conversation. I just didn't get to talk back until the end! I like that you didn't say the same facile thing that 500 reviewers have already said. You took it to heart and gave me your feelings. This is the high road for reviewers and fro the art and craft of reviewing. Kudos bro.

    As to content, let me toss out two considerations. Glodell's "bad acting" made me nervous. Then I realized that I was feeling just like a corny midwestrn kid would have felt putting his low-level geek moves on an ass-whupping Angelino. So maybe, just maybe, the acting was brilliant? It sure made me sit up in the theater. Second. It's easy to say that the story is a love story at it's core. Might it be more perceptive to say that the love story acts as the superficial or apparent engine of the plot, but the real story (and I think I'm right because if you analyze it it's where the character development is richest and the arcs are broadest) is in the bromance. Here's where we get to see the essence of the timeless love that exists between two friends. Aiden's level of sacrifice for Glodell's lead transcends his bro's taking off for several days without warning (he even refuses to test his flamethrower till his friend returns) f*cking his girl ("That must have felt good"), and going brain-dead (he picks up a baseball bat and probably ends his life as a free man to defend his comatose friend). The list goes on. I left the theater feeling as though I had just seen a crypto-study of male friendship that spoke to the way I feel - that NOTHING will ever stand between me and my comrades. Even soul-crushing love. If you scrape around in your heart for clues like this you've got the juice to write. IMHO anyway. Good work.

    3 years agoby @Herman-B-HesseFlag

  3. thedude-abides

    @dan1 Thanks, man. I'm picturing a Don La Fontaine trailer voice over, lol.

    3 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  4. Dan

    @thedude-abides "Good thing he's got his flame thrower"---- Lol, like a B-movie tagline. Awesome. Nice, short review sir.

    3 years agoby @dan1Flag

  5. thedude-abides

    @moviegeek Yeah, the notifications are getting out of hand. That's why I don't @mention anyone in my reviews anymore. I'll be excited when the new system Brian was talking about gets going and we can "follow" everything without all that tagging.

    3 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  6. moviegeek

    @thedude-abides Well thank you :) There are only three or four users that I actually take the time to read reviews from when they post them. I get notifications from about 20 different people though haha. :P

    3 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  7. thedude-abides

    @moviegeek I read all of yours...unless it's a film that's been reviewed 10 times already, lol.

    Anyway, I agree. I found myself doing that very thing, and my reviews were becoming forced. I'm just gonna let it ride from now on.

    3 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  8. moviegeek

    @thedude-abides That's good. What I try to do in my reviews is completely avoid structure. I hate the reviews that HAVE to make mention of the acting somewhere, and the directing... please. Not every film should be judged on the same standard.

    I like my long reviews, but I don't kid myself into thinking that anyone really sits down and reads the full thing.

    3 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  9. thedude-abides

    @mr-eighty8 Haha. Thanks, man. Don't forget about the jacket either.

    @moviegeek I'm sort of taking the approach of magazine reviews. I find that they're typically shorter and hit harder. I used to give the rundown one thing at a time. First it was the plot line, then the directing, then the acting, then the film itself, etc. Now I'm sort of taking my opinion of all those technical aspects and wrapping them around a few main story points.

    3 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  10. Mr_Eighty8

    Good and surprisingly brief review, my friend. I guess the reviews gotta match the new 'do. Haha.

    3 years agoby @mr-eighty8Flag

  11. moviegeek

    @thedude-abides Depends on how the violence is used to enhance the material, but thanks for the caution. What's the "new thing" you're using in your reviews?

    3 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  12. thedude-abides

    Thanks, @moviegeek. I'm trying something new from now on with my reviews. They won't all be this short, I just figured most people wouldn't be interested in a long review of this film.

    Anyway, I understand. This doesn't really seem like your kinda movie. I seem to recall you not being a fan of overly violent material, which this certainly is. Thanks again.

    3 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  13. moviegeek

    Quite the brief review you've got here. I've heard many ranging things about this film. Not enough praise to make me seek this one out too much. Good review, man.

    3 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  14. thedude-abides

    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx Probably not. I usually review whatever I see in theaters, which is only about 10-15 movies a year. I guess it just depends on how many I see.

    3 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  15. Nicholaus XX

    @thedude-abides -- Oh, definitely! You think your going to start reviewing more often?

    3 years agoby @XxNickTheFilmCriticXxFlag

  16. thedude-abides

    @XxNickTheFilmCriticXx Thanks, man! I feel like I'm finally starting to develop a style when it comes to my reviews. I feel like my satirical voice has always been there, but structurally speaking, I've never really had a style. Hopefully this will be a benchmark for my reviews going forward.

    3 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  17. Nicholaus XX

    @thedude-abides -- Astounding review, man.

    3 years agoby @XxNickTheFilmCriticXxFlag