Red Carpet review – rap-themed escape story loses itself in grim detail | Film

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Apart from Google Street View employees’ driveways, the LA “underbelly” must be the most filmed place on the planet, from Kiss Me Deadly to Training Day. That capital of spiritual degradation is where this scratchy low-budget drama is bound, as Angeleno wannabe Mandy (Wittie Hughes) meets-cute with a white-boy rapper on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and gets wrecked with him at a pool party.

Mandy’s hopes of stardom take a nosedive when she wakes up on a plastic-sheathed mattress in an anonymous low-rise, apparently delivered into human slavery. She has become the “property” of Shadow, a tooth-grilled pimp who appears to have taken James Franco’s “Look at all my shit” soliloquy in Spring Breakers as sound career advice. His sidekick is a mute never seen without a gold Anonymous mask. Director Scott Altman keeps Mandy locked in her room and on strict exploitation-movie rations – she is raped, and cosies up to winsome fellow hooker Lola (Roshema Purfoy) for consolatory spliffs and lesbian cuddles. She alchemises the pain into rap, which finally provides her with a way out.

Red Carpet buys hook, line and verse into LA rap romanticism, and at least looks the part: it makes handsome use of the drone technology that has democratised the establishing shot; it delivers at street level too, with a smeary digital aesthetic that is now the mandatory mode for shooting this languorous city. But the story is threadbare – resorting to rape far too often to manufacture incident – to seriously engage beyond lurid cliches. Red Carpet is at its best when it is swept up by its own vibe: Mandy gets lost in breakbeats as she dreams up misery-rhymes to soundtrack a break for freedom that, when it comes, unfolds like a rap video playing in her head.

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Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Red Carpet review – rap-themed escape story loses itself in grim detail | Film

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