Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Review: Red Tails (2012)

These days when some people see that a film is produced by George Lucas they are quick to judge it, unfortunately this is the way that most people seem to have dismissed Red Tails. These people are sorely missing out.

Director Anthony Hemingway provides a great eye throughout the film, and looking at his resume of TV work ranging from The Wire, Battlestar Galactica, Community and Treme it’s really no surprise. The cast too are engaging and enthusiastic giving the film heart and soul. And it is George Lucas’s passion that got this project together, having tried to get the film produced in one form or another since the mid 80’s. In the end he ended up giving over $80m of his own money to get the film made and marketed. Lucas isn’t a man who raped and ruined your childhood; he is still a filmmaking master and pioneer, who every fan of popular cinema has a lot to thank for.

Red Tails is a fun and thought provoking film. Those are two things which are not necessarily easy bed fellows, especially with the Second World War as their backdrop. But Red Tails is a really fun film, which isn’t an easy thing to do in a war film, taking more from the cinema of the 40’s and 50’s than its more recent cousins and indulging in the spectacle of the aerial combat scenes, crafted by the ever wonderful ILM. The issue of race is one which can too often be glossed over and ignored, especially in regards to WWII but Red Tails deals with the story effectively and maturely. No, the film isn't perfect, particularly in its depiction of Germans as ruthless, scar ridden, evil menaces, this is hardly something unique to this film with many others also make this mistake (Saving Private Ryan), but you can’t fault Red Tails for this as this isn’t their particular fight. The equality it promotes in relation to race is truly impressive, and its unapologetic depiction of racism in the military more than makes up for its shortcomings.

Knowing the long history of this film it is clear that it is a labour of love for those involved, Red Tails is definitely a film that should be appreciated, it’s a World War II rarity, a visually stunning treat and something you shouldn’t miss.