Despite it being slightly outdated, REDS is one of those epic masterpieces that leaves the viewer in awe of the amazing performances. Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson are always great, and they give wonderful turns in their roles. For the most part, Warren Beatty doesnít do much for me nowadays, but his performance as John Reed was spectacular and well deserved of all the critical praise he received at the time.
But if REDS has one problem, itís that it loses focus. Obviously, making a pro-communist film at the height of the cold war is risky business to say the least and itís clear that Mr. Beatty pulled his punches to at least give him a chance of getting work again. Heís clearly making a political statement throughout much of the film, but the real lost is with the intentions of his character. Itís unclear exactly what Reed wants for America and even if he understands the working-man at all. I must confess I havenít read any of his books, but I hope they would provide more focus and clarity than Mr. Beattyís film.
Itís also a very long film. At almost 3.5 hours, this viewer got tired of not knowing what the main character was trying to accomplish. My interest also waned with the love story. At times it felt forced, but they may have had more to do with the lack of chemistry between Ms. Keaton and Mr. Beatty. Ms. Keaton had much more chemistry with Jack Nicholson and that distracted from the film more than once.
However, when it was all over, I was impressed with the grand scale in which REDS was presented on. It was repeatedly clear that Warren Beattyís heart was in this film and he gave it everything he had. His script was very well written (but way too long), the performances were top notch and the directing was great. In fact, it was one great editing performance away from being a spectacular film.
There is also a DVD Preview.