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Fantasia 2021: “Ida Red”


© Grand Sichuan, LLC

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Crime thriller is a genre that never disappoints if filmed the right way. Apart from the story, the acting, writing, direction, editing and even the soundtrack must be top-notch. On top of that, it has to have a good character, even if they are playing a negative role, that we would cheer for. If you read this and you find yourself intrigued, you rightfully should be, because “Ida Red” delivers that and even more.

If crime is in the bloodstream or in someone’s DNA, then it’s certainly about the Walker family. They are not to be messed with. Bold, strong, smart, courageous and super dangerous, they look at the face of danger and laugh as hard as they can. Melissa Leo’s Ida, the matriarch of the family, is months or weeks away from losing her life to a terminal illness, yet serves twenty-five years of prison time due to her criminal activities. Her son, Wyatt Walker (Josh Hartnett), fulfils all the asks his mother has with the help of his uncle, Dallas (Frank Grillo). The mother has one final ask Wyatt must fulfil. It’s an ambitious and impossible heist the two must complete successfully. However, as it normally happens, their road towards a happy ending lies through hundreds of bullets, dead bodies and a promise they cannot break.

Written and directed by John Swab, “Ida Red” is a masterfully directed piece of art, I have no doubt, you will enjoy it as much as I did. It’s not just a random film where two guys take a gun and hunt for blood. Not at all. It’s a family affair at its best. It’s a character-driven story that goes beyond individual personalities. It evolves, grows and gets stronger with every passing minute, giving the characters more energy to thrive. We know pretty well Wyatt and Dallas are not people we should be rooting for. But their charisma, love for the family, strong bond and determination is what holds them together, even in moments when there is no point turning back.

Melissa Leo is, as always, fantastic in any film she appears in. Josh Hartnett and Frank Grillo share amazing chemistry together, making you wish to see more films with the two together. Sofia Hublitz as Darla Walker is a dark horse of the Walker family. If given the chance, she will succeed. As I said earlier, “Ida Red” is not just a crime thriller, it’s driven by the family bond, cleverly executed from start to end. It’s the kind of film you would like to see more often on the small or big screen. Almost as if it was taking you back in time when the classic crime thriller genre was a thing. A good revelation and the revival of the genre, “Ida Red” stays strong on every level without slowing down or failing.

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