×

Reds

Warren Beatty's Red s is a courageous and uncompromising attempt to meld a high-level socio-political drama of ideas with an intense love story, but it is ultimately too ponderous.

With:
Warren Beatty Diane Keaton Jerzy Kosinski Jack Nicholson Maureen Stapleton Edward Herrmann

Warren Beatty’s Red s is a courageous and uncompromising attempt to meld a high-level socio-political drama of ideas with an intense love story, but it is ultimately too ponderous.

More than just the story of American journalist-activist John Reed’s stormy romantic career with writer Louise Bryant, a kinetic affair backdropped by pre-World War I radicalism and the Russian Revolution, the film is also, to its eventual detriment, structured as a Marxist history lesson.

First half of the film, though it takes an inordinant amount of time and detail to do it, does an intelligent job of setting both the political and emotional scene. Beginning in 1915, Reed (Beatty) is introduced as an idealistic reporter of decidedly radical bent who meets Portland writer Bryant (Diane Keaton) and persuades her to join him in New York within a tight-knit radical intellectual salon that includes the likes of playwright Eugene O’Neill (Jack Nicholson), anarchist-feminist Emma Goldman (Maureen Stapleton) and radical editor Max Eastman (Edward Herrmann).

Their on-again, off-again affair – which challenges their respective claims of emotional liberation – survives Keaton’s brief fling with Nicholson and they marry.

But Beatty’s inability to resist the growing socialist bandwagon strains them yet again and Keaton ships off to cover the French battlefront and begin life afresh. En route to cover the upcoming conflagration in Russia, Beatty persuades her to join him – in professional, not emotional status – and in Petrograd, the revolutionary fervor rekindles their romantic energies as well.

Red s bites off more than an audience can comfortably chew. Constant conflicts between politics and art, love and social conscience, individuals versus masses, pragmatism against idealism, take the form of intense and eventually exhausting arguments that dominate the script by Beatty and British playwright Trevor Griffiths.

As director, Beatty has harnessed considerable intensity into individual confrontations but curiously fails to give the film an overall emotional progression.

1981: Best Director, Supp. Actress (Maureen Stapleton), Cinematography.

Nominations: Best Picture, Actor (Warren Beatty), Actress (Diane Keaton), Supp. Actor (Jack Nicholson), Original Screenplay, Costume Design, Art Direction, Editing, Sound

Popular on Variety

Reds

Production: Paramount. Director Warren Beatty; Producer Warren Beatty; Screenplay Warren Beatty, Trevor Griffiths; Camera Vittorio Storaro; Editor Dede Allen, Craig McKay; Music Stephen Sondheim, Dave Grusin; Art Director Richard Sylbert

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 200 MIN.

With: Warren Beatty Diane Keaton Jerzy Kosinski Jack Nicholson Maureen Stapleton Edward Herrmann

More Film

  • Florenc Papas on Road Movies, Ancient

    ‘Open Door’ Helmer on Road Movies, Ancient Traditions, Social Pretensions

    Albanian director Florenc Papas, an alumnus of the Sarajevo Talents program, is in competition at the Sarajevo Film Festival with his feature film debut, “Open Door.” The road movie follows two sisters, Rudina and the pregnant and unmarried Elma, who embarks on a journey to visit their strict and traditional father in the remote mountain [...]

  • Dronningen/Queen of HeartsDirected by MAY EL-TOUKHYNordisk

    'Queen of Hearts,' 'White, White Day' Among Nordic Council Film Prize Contenders

    HAUGESUND, Norway  —  Iceland’s “A White, White Day,” Denmark’s “Queen of Hearts” and Norway’s “Blind Spot” are among the five films that will compete for this year’s Nordic Council Film Prize, a prestigious film award aimed at promoting Nordic co-operation and environmental initiatives. Sweden’s “Reconstructing Utøya” and Finland’s “Aurora” help round out the list, which [...]

  • Actor Javier Bardem looking at chinstrap

    Javier Bardem on Toronto-Bound ‘Sanctuary,’ See Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID  — Just selected as a Special Event at September’s Toronto Film Festival, Alvaro Longoria’s “Sanctuary.” starring and produced by Javier Bardem, may need a new ending. On Aug. 19, Bardem, along with Greenpeace, addressed delegates at the United Nations in New York to urge governments to agree to a strong Global Ocean Treaty. Creating [...]

  • Bosnia's Canton Sarajevo to Launch Film

    Bosnia's Canton Sarajevo to Launch Film and TV Rebate Incentive

    Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Canton of Sarajevo is introducing a new €1 million ($1.1 million) film funding initiative next year aimed at promoting domestic and international film and television production in the region. The incentive is the first of its kind in the country. Government representatives of Sarajevo Canton, including Prime Minister Edin Forto and culture [...]

  • Antlers Trailer

    Guillermo Del Toro's 'Antlers' Starring Keri Russell Drops Chilling First Trailer

    Events take a dark turn for a small town school teacher, played by “The Americans'” Keri Russell, in the first teaser trailer for horror movie “Antlers,” produced by Guillermo del Toro. The footage, unveiled Tuesday, centers on a young boy (Jeremy T. Thomas) reading from a frightening short story he’s written as Russell listens. The [...]

  • Why Hollywood Should Tone Down Violence

    Why It's Time for Hollywood to Reconsider the Amount of Violence on Screen (Column)

    To put it mildly, we live in scary, intolerant, violent times. Since a lone gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, and killed 20 children, six adults and himself, there have been at least 2,187 mass shootings across America, resulting in the deaths of some 2,461 people and wounding more than [...]

  • James Bond Spectre

    James Bond Movie Title Revealed

    The latest James Bond adventure finally has a title. The 25th entry in the action spy series will be named “No Time to Die.” In the upcoming movie, Bond (Daniel Craig) has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content