With the (deservedly) heightened focus on raising the profile of women directors in the film industry, one name springs to my mind among those deserving more opportunities: Andrea Arnold. If you didn’t read through all of Vulture’s 100 Women Directors Hollywood Should Be Hiring, there’s a chance you already saw her name since it falls at the beginning of the alphabet. However, you should look deeper into her imposing body of work and discover the prowess of a master.
I jumped on the Andrea Arnold bandwagon after her 2010 film “Fish Tank” gave me a new vocabulary to make sense of my formative adolescent years but shamefully only just got around to her 2007 debut, “Red Road.” This sparse, tense thriller is “Rear Window” by way of “The Lives of Others” – not a bad start for a director and definitely a deserving pick for the “F.I.L.M. of the Week.”
Kate Dickie stars as CCTV operator Jackie, a woman who finds herself so lonely that she begins to internally narrativize the people she observes on her screens. But one day, she takes it a little too far after watching a man and a woman fornicating in an abandoned lot. (Don’t worry, she’s not motivated by pure perversion.) Her target is Tony Curran’s Clyde, a figure with a connection to Jackie’s painful past that she unsuccessfully attempts to bury in her mind.
To say much more would only serve to spoil the suspense Arnold builds throughout “Red Road.” But in her slow burn towards an intriguing end of the road, she gives the viewer ample time to contemplate the ethics of voyeurism and interference. And, now, it makes one wonder how she wrangled the incorrigible Shia LaBeouf for her upcoming film “American Honey.”