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Bellflower (Blu-ray Review)

12 Nov, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Street 11/15/11
Box Office $0.17 million
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray/DVD combo
Rated ‘R’ for disturbing violence, some strong sexuality, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use.
Stars Evan Glodell, Jessie Wiseman, Tyler Dawson, Rebekah Brandes.

It must be a drag when love interferes with myopic visions of the pending apocalypse.

That’s the scenario Woodrow (newbie writer-director Evan Glodell) and best friend, Aiden (Tyler Dawson), find themselves in living a world far away from their Wisconsin roots on the fringes of Los Angeles on Bellflower Ave. — the eponymous title to engaging indie film Bellflower.

With seemingly little life direction, the two twentysomething slackers co-exist in a fantasy “Mad Max” world (it’s their favorite movie) that involves blowing things up (a propane tank) and constructing a portable flamethrower. All of this serves as a preamble to the ultimate goal: Building a monster car named “The Medusa” capable of spitting out flames and going from zero to hell.

Real-life mayhem interrupts in the form of Milly (Jessie Wiseman, in her first role), a curvy tomboy who warns the smitten Woodrow she’s trouble shortly after meeting and besting him in a cricket-eating contest at a local bar. Aiden, it appears, falls for Milly’s friend Courtney (Rebekah Brandes, a budding Heather Graham) — the relationship mere foreplay to the mental delusions Woodrow subjects everyone to when Milly proves true to herwords.

While the story of sensitive boy falling hard for compromised girl isn’t new, Bellflower proves an original take on the subject thanks in large part to the backstory surrounding the movie. Filmed over three years on a shoestring budget, Glodell envisioned the script based on a failed personal relationship and the desire to make a movie about it and a car.

That Glodell and crew became obsessed with Bellflower underscores both their passion and talent. Glodell spent most of the non-existent budget building the monster car (a fixture at film’s festival bows in Sundance and SXSW), going so far as to install actual flamethrowers and onboard cameras. Cinematographer Joel Hodge’s rough-around-the-edges washed out scenes befitting traumatic love gone bad.

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