SXSW Review: Bellflower
Bellflower strikes me as the typical film festival indie movie about relationships. It’s watchable and relatable, still the “Boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl” formula. The post-apocalyptic obsession is not enough of a distinction, not after Clerks exploded pop culture references decades ago.
Aiden (Tyler Dawson) and Woodrow (Evan Glodell) are obsessed with Mad Max and they’re building their own flamethrower to put on their dream road warrior car, The Medusa. Woodrow meets Milly (Jessie Wiseman) at a bar and she’s so cool they go on a road trip for their first date. They have a sweet relationship, even tough Woodrow’s obviously insecure the way he keeps repeating “this is nice” and suggests that sex wasn’t good for her.
Then things get awkward and uncomfortable. Milly really hurts Woodrow and sends him into a spiral. He uses the flamethrower to burn Milly’s belongings and things escalate from there. Milly’s other ex, Mike (Vincent Gradshaw), gets violent and Woodrow rebounds with Milly’s friend Courtney (Rebekah Brandes), even though Aiden likes her.
At least they deal with emotions and real reactions, which are messy and unclear, just not necessarily dramatic. Milly leaves her jewelry box at Woodrow’s place, but she doesn’t know what her plans are later. Aiden is the greatest friend ever because Woodrow’s feelings are more important to him than his own love interest.
It goes Jerry Springer, especially with Courtney and Milly having it out with vulgar screaming and trashy brawling. Maybe the point is to show the consequences of hurting people?
It’s a solid vehicle for four new actors. It shows they can hold the screen. With Glodell writing and directing, they show they can complete a film too, which we shouldn’t forget is a major hurdle to most of the wannabes. If the same actors do another movie I’ll be interested enough to see if there’s any improvement. They really appealed to me.