Fantasia 2011: ‘Bellflower’ is not the Armageddon we were promised (Review #2)

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Bellflower

Written and Directed by Evan Glodell

USA 2011

Fantasia imdb

Bellflower is not the Armageddon we were promised.

We were promised scarred tattooed bad-asses riding apocalypse bikes with biker sluts. We were promised Tina Turner in dominatrix gear. We were promised deserts filled with broken glass and rusted abandoned machinery. Most of all, we were promised Detroit muscle cars belching fire.

Well, one out of four will get you a steady paycheck in major league baseball.

Bellflower does give us the amazing fire-breathing Medusa muscle car, but instead of a physical Armageddon, it offers up an emotional apocalypse.

The only deserts are those of the soul, filled with milquetoast men chasing women who, to paraphrase Kyle Baker from his Why I Hate Saturn, can be beautiful, smart and sane but never all three at once.

Our hero driver Woodrow and his mechanic Aiden navigate a desolate California, numbing their emotions with alcohol and preparing themselves for some great disaster while laying waste to their lives. The object of Woodrow’s affections is Milly, a crazed thrill-seeker who acts like a flame to Woodrow’s moth, while warning him of the flames every step he takes closer to to her.

The film is shot through dirty lenses as though the cinematographer stared too long into the sun until his ruined retinas could see into the souls of men.

It’s impossible not to think while following a lurching Woodrow stumbling through barely habitable apartments covered in dead soldiers, that maybe Armageddon happened with a whimper and we missed it because we were waiting for the bang.

No, Bellflower is not the Armageddon we were promised, but maybe it is the emotional apocalypse that we deserve.

Michael Ryan

Visit the official Fantasia Film Fest website

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