Cannes 74: ‘Red Rocket’ Review
Sean Baker, you deserve a donut!
Sean Baker is back with his introspective, cynical eye on forgotten America, depicting trashy lifestyles often ignored, closer to reality and certainly more common than the alluring and glamorous ones we are used to being fed by Hollywood and indeed on the Croisette - returning there for the first time in 4 years since bringing The Florida Project to Cannes.
For Red Rocket, Baker flies from his beloved Sunshine State, where he set his previous works, to the Lone-Star one. A beaten up dude shows up on the doorstep of his ex wife’s house, who lives with her mother in a small Texan town, begging for a place to sleep for a couple of nights. That man is nothing less than porn star Mikey Saber, who in his X-rated career performed in over 2000 movies such as the acclaimed “Fast and Furry-ass”, and winning 6 AVN Awards for best oral sex. The ex Scary Movie superstar Simon Rex, who delivers an irresistible tragicomic performance, might aim for a little more than an AVN.
Mikey is back in his hometown, maybe looking for a fresh start, maybe looking for place to hide for a while, and soon the agreed couple of days become weeks. Relying on Viagra to regain his lost pride, we never get to trust him, and despite his clear opportunism and phoniness, he’s overall quite likeable. In his red-lit Hollywood days, he didn’t just loose his southern accent, but also his reputation- settling back in will be tough. Hunted by his dirty past, the only jobs he manages to get are drug-dealing gigs, thanks to which he can afford to spoil his ex wife and mother-in-law at the local delicatessen, the Donut Hole. There, he scouts a teenage girl eyeing her as a potential revelation in the stag movie panorama- but also his way back in the business. Sean Baker, you deserve a donut too.