Starring: Simon Rex, Bree Elrod, Suzanna Son, Ethan Darbone, Brenda Deiss, and Judy Hill
Director: Sean Baker
Red Rocket is easily one of my favorite movies of the year. Co-writer/director Sean Baker continues his wonderful winning streak of making compelling and nuanced examinations of lower-class America, this time including a very funny character study and some genuinely unexpected turns. Simon Rex is remarkably good in this, nailing every single beat of his character perfectly, which allows the viewer to root for him despite his flaws. While Baker’s slow-moving nature can be tedious for some, the movie is entertaining enough that I can see most everyone having a fun time with this at the very least.
Relative to talent, co-writer/director Sean Baker is perhaps the most undervalued indie filmmaker working today, and Red Rocket only further confirms that notion. This tale of a down-and-out pornstar wreaking havoc on the lives of those around him is one of the year’s best films and perhaps a personal best for Baker himself. An absorbing embodiment of charming toxicity and unbridled ambition, Simon Rex’s lead performance as an asshole one can’t help but love is electrifying. Special attention should also be paid to Suzanna Son’s excellent supporting turn in her feature film debut - that kid is going places.