Explosive Emotions: Breaking Up is Really Hard to Do in Bellflower


Dutifully hipster-hyped at Sundance and South by Southwest, writer-director-actor Evan Glodell’s testosterone-fueled fever-dream indie Bellflower impresses less for its screeching take on extended adolescent fury than for its own macho, wacko, pedal-to-metal embodiment of same. Desperate to blast his way into the white-line nightmare of the Mad Max flicks, young Glodell rubs his piggy-bank coins together to spark a pissed-off, neo-punk Western vision of dust-covered bad boys and their toys—e.g., guns, a wicked flamethrower, and a booze-dispensing muscle car tricked out in pre-production by the gearhead auteur himself. Plus, he literally acts the part, playing pyromaniacal Woodrow, a whiskey-swilling SoCal nihilist whose noirishly fickle new squeeze (Jessie Wiseman) drives the vengeful kid to kick-start the apocalypse he always wanted. Alas, the quarter-tank budget requires road-rage action to remain minimal, while the supersaturated/soft-focus stylistics come to grate—and just because the driver of this vehicle catches himself in the rearview mirror looking guilty doesn’t make his film’s seething misogyny entirely forgivable. In the end, Glodell’s bona fide B-movie is monumentally dumb but damn near undeniable—although perhaps only a midnight drive-in screening in rural Texas, beat-up Chevys dripping muffler fluid and steam hissing from hot gravel, could do it proper.