March 24, 2011 Volume CXXIX Issue 8

Red is not just a color

Staff Writer

“Red Riding Hood” was released in theaters March 11.

Over Spring Break, instead of getting a fabulous tan at the beach, I stayed home and got caught up on some well deserved rest and relaxation. And what is the one thing that every average American teenager does on a gorgeous spring day? Go to the movies. I took my chances on a movie that didn’t have the ratings to back it up. I saw “Red Riding Hood” and was instantly mesmerized. You know the saying “curiosity killed the cat?” Well in this epic thriller they wished it had been a cat. This retrospective film, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, is a new twist on a classic fable. It’s not the same nursery rhyme you remember from childhood, and if it is then I question what kind of a nursery you grew up in.

This version is about a young, beautiful girl named Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) who was raised in a tiny, slightly peaceful village on the outskirts of a mysterious, thick forest. For the most part, this town was only plagued by the infamous werewolf on full moons, until the cycle of the blood moon when villagers end up mysteriously disappearing and showing up dead. Now Valerie must choose between staying in town and marrying Henry (Max Irons), the handsome son of the wealthy blacksmith, or running away with the mysteriously sexy Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), the town’s outcast woodcutter. When terrible things start happening around town, Valerie is accused of witchcraft and is used as a sacrifice by the expert Werewolf Hunter Reverend Solomon (Gary Oldman).

The plot line is very simplistic and characteristically predictable, but it is the captivating filming style of Catherine Hardwicke that gives this timeless story a potent grunge edge. Hardwicke is famous for her take on cliché plotlines and she throws them into gorgeous locations that close the audience’s gap between reality and fiction, particularly in the breathtaking mountaintop scenery of this movie. Its eerie wonder plays off of the fear and anxiety of the story line and intensifies the thrill of the hunt. What makes Hardwicke’s films so recognizable is her ability to exaggerate small details throughout her movies and she magnifies the contrast that creates the symbolic “click” for the audience. For instance, the main symbol for the movie, obviously, is the color red. What is so appealing and memorable about this specific detail is the contrast between each use of the color in the film. The red of the cloak in “the real world” of the story is bland compared to the vibrant, eye popping crimson of the cloak in Valerie’s dreams. The contrast of the bright red of the blood is remarkable against the snow-white mountains.

Overall, this was a very good movie, but unless you have a high tolerance for strange uniquely filmed movies, I suggest for this film to just wait to rent it on DVD.


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