In her overwhelming feature debut, Andrea Arnolds stays close to her characters. Red Road is a true-to-life psychological portrait of several people who are only partly on the right side of the tracks. The film shows a dark, intense world that is often literally and metaphorically in the shadows.
Jackie – a wonderful leading role by Kate Dickie – is a young woman who surveys the streets of Glasgow through security cameras. One day on her screens she recognises the crook Clyde, who has recently been released from jail. It soon becomes clear that Jackie is suffering from a major trauma in which Clyde played a crucial role. She decides to approach the man indirectly and makes friends with several of his flatmates. Arnold meticulously builds up tension towards an inevitable confrontation. Observing and being observed – that social and cinematographic game is the high stakes in this powerful film. Stakes that are amply rewarded.
Red Road is the first film to emerge from the so-called Advance Party concept. This is an initiative where three different directors develop feature films based on a fixed group of nine film characters who are brought to life by Lone Scherfig and Anders Thomas Jensen, linked to producer Zentropa. The characters are always played by the same actors and the location is in Scotland in each case. (Erwin Houtenbrink)