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Reds (SE)
DVD disk
Oct 27, 2006 By: Sturdy
Reds (SE) order
Director:
Warren Beatty

Actors:
Warren Beatty
Diane Keaton
Jack Nicholoson

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An American communist falls in love with an American feminist during the early days of World War I. They must find a way to keep their love alive while struggling with the world around them and their changing ideals.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This was my first viewing of Warren Beattyís masterpiece so it doesnít have the same cold-war shock to my social outlook as it probably would have had I seen it in 1981. Of course, if I had written this review in 1981, it would have been in crayon and with many mentions of Big Bird.

Despite it being slightly outdated, REDS is one of those epic masterpieces that leaves the viewer in awe of the amazing performances.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.
THE EXTRAS
Witnesses documentaries (31:58): I feel like Iíve seen a million of these documentaries. For the most part, theyíre all the same. However, this one was the exception because Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and others sit and talk about their experiences with the film. I find both of them to be very interesting men and I enjoyed listening to them talk about one of their favorite movies. You can watch this as one long featurette, or in seven different chapters.

There is also a DVD Preview.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This isnít a film to watch if youíre looking to zone out for a few hours or lighten the mood. Itís steeped in political undertones and the subject matter is thought provoking and interesting. If you have the time, and youíre interested in the early stages of communism and where it originally came from, I highly recommend picking up a copy of REDS.
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