Bellflower

Bellflower is one of the most remarkable films I have seen in recent years. Indeed, it’s not quite like any other film I have ever watched.

Woodrow (Evan Glodell) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson) are friends who have recently moved from Wisconsin to Southern California. There, they indulge in apocalyptic fantasies. They imagine that a war will one day destroy most of the human race. They will then form a gang called “Mother Medusa”, which will use flame throwers and other weapons to conquer the world. (They are both fans of the Mad Max movies.) To prepare for this eventuality, they build a flame thrower in Aiden’s garage. When they’re not tinkering with weapons and motor vehicles, they spend most of their time getting drunk and stoned. Neither one of them has a job, yet they have plenty of money to spend on weapons and cars. Although the film never makes it explicit, they clearly come from wealthy families. (Their names suggest that they are from upper class backgrounds.)

When I was young, I knew people like the characters in this film. No, they didn’t build flame throwers, but they did practice other types of obsessive behavior (such as forming untalented rock bands). These people didn’t have jobs, yet they seemed to always have money. They spent much of their time getting drunk and stoned (“partying” as they called it).

Woodrow meets a girl, Milly (Jessie Wiseman), who shares his inclination towards impulsive, reckless behavior. They go on a road trip to Texas, and when they get back, Milly moves in with him. One day, however, Woodrow discovers her having sex with Mike (Vincent Grashaw), which immediately leads to a fight. Afterwards, Woodrow is injured in a motorcycle accident. While he is recovering, he begins to have a relationship with Milly’s best friend, Coutney (Rebekah Brandes). There is a growing spiral of violence as Woodrow seeks to get even with Milly. I won’t say much else about the story except that this is one of those films in which part of what you are seeing is being imagined by one or more of the characters. Although some things in this film are far-fetched, the characters nevertheless come across as thoroughly believable.

Bellflower is a criticism of our society’s fascination with violence, with weaponry, with apocalyptic fantasies, and with revenge fantasies.

This film, written and directed by Glodell, has a unique look to it. This is partly because the cinematographer, Joel Hodge, used a new type of camera that Glodell built from scratch.

This is Glodell’s first feature film. It is a most impressive debut. It is the kind of movie that you just have to talk about after you see it. Glodell has a promising future as a director.

You can find a trailer for this film here.

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