Redlegs: A Narcissistic Spectacle of Male Grief


A narcissistic spectacle of male
grief, Redlegs charts the reunion of three twentysomething friends (two white and one Colombian) in their hometown of Cincinnati for the funeral of their recently murdered friend Ricky, who was black. Wracked by aimless fury and sorrow, Aaron (Andrew Katz) takes out his anger on Marco (Nathan Ramos), who abandoned them all years earlier to prepare for the end of the world by working on an Indiana farm, while Willie (Evan Louison) blames himself for asking Ricky to
travel to the rough urban neighborhood where he was killed. Cincinnati is bestowed with a forlorn beauty by critic-turned-director Brandon Harris’s evocative widescreen compositions, which are often scored to testy sports-talk radio. Yet despite his protagonists’ naturalistic rapport, the drunken and drugged-out dramas that unfold at ballparks, in bars, and in parking lots have a frustrating tendency to bump up against issues of guilt and resentment—as well as the class and race tensions that underscore Ricky’s death and his lighter-skinned friends’ responses to it—without ever sinking teeth into them. Instead, the trio’s mourning feels more like immature self-absorption.