Thursday, 24 November 2011

Bellflower (DVD Review)

DVD review of the indie sweetheart film Bellflower; feature film directorial debut from writer/director Evan Glodell

Writer/Dir: Evan Glodell - feature film directorical debut
Cast: Evan Glodell, Tyler Dawson, Jessie Wiseman, Rebekah Brandes, Vincent Grashaw
USA, 2011

Reason to see: Great buzz off the festival circuit

I was drawn to see Bellflower from what felt like an outrageous premise of following two friends Woodrow & Aiden (played by Evan Glodell & Tyler Dawson) who are fondly creative their own version of Max Max-like items apocalypse surviving items including an car, and that might sound like an outrageous reason to be interested in a film but it's the straight-up truth. I was pretty surprized that it's actually more of a relationship drama between Woodrow and Milly (Jessie Wiseman) and a new girl that plays the often-used 'drive a wedge through friendship' role which pitches the to see-saw between Woodrow relationship with Milly and friendship with Aiden. There certainly is a vibe of embracing slackerville 2.0 in Bellflower, where there drive of the characters feels almost non-existent as they are just living for and in the moment without a care of what the next day may bring or how it could affect themselves or those around them. The one big exception to this rule was the keen long-term projects of Woodrow and Aiden, in their dream of creating machines and devices a la Mad Max that would increase their own chances to survive an apocalypse. That really is as cool as it sonds.

I had pretty high expectations of Bellflower from the indie love wave it's ridden off the festival circuit and I'm always happy to festival & independent films get a lot of love. It and impressive first feature, even with its bumps in logic and the grand omission of not provide any context of how the characters made any money, but the vision is big, the tension is electric and it has bucketloads of chutzpah. When you compare the gutsy vision with slightly bumpy narrative I think you end up with a fine balance but I the one thing I can't quite get about the film was that I had huge issues with the female characters in the film. I've never met a woman who is as self-serving and twisted as Milly; and I really didn't understand Courtney whom I felt was there to provide more encounters and complications. I did find that both Jessie Wiseman and Rebekah Brandes performances impressed me at times, but that feels like a conflict statement when paired with not always understanding their characters.

Considering the bizarre nouveau feel to the film, the combination of belief and confusing is perhaps perfectly fitting in its contradiction. Either way, there is no denying that Bellflower is a vibrant, visceral journey film that burns its way into the hearts and minds of it's viewers. The gorgeous packaging and electric extras will make many a fan happy to get their hands of the DVD.

DVD Extras:
  • Behind-the-Scenes of Bellflower - a look into the apocalypse love story (24 minutes) film clips, on set footage, interviews with writer/director/actor Evan Glodell and actors Tyler Dawson, Jessie Wiseman & Rebekah Brandes, director of photography/editor/co-producer Joel Hodge, co-producer/production coordinator Chelsea St John, producer/editor, actor Vincent Grashaw, gaffer/sound/engineer/co-producer Paul Edwardson, co-producer/assistant camera Jet Kauffman, first A.D./co-producer Lenny Powell, composer/editor/co-producer Jonathan Keevil on how the film came to be and/or how they became involved in the film, the honest initial reaction to the script and whether they 'got it' or not, the films theme and heartbreak, loss & grief and the destructive nature that can go hand & hand with that, the intense drive to keep the project going; the history, reactions, versions & testing of the flamethrower, plus footage and discussion of key scene in the film, specs, reactions and how the Medusa car works, challenges with the the film including reactions initial test screenings, the story of how the film got into Sundance plus cast & crew reactions to being at the festival and footage at the festival, as well as a lot of fun and horsing around. You can really feel the love for the film and between all of the people involved in the project, it's really quite touching.
  • Medusa Rundown - an in-depth look at the hand-built car (10 minutes) rundown on how Medusa car works with writer/director/actor Evan Glodell, the car being worked on, how much parts were, in action plus film footage with and about the car.
  • Outtakes from the Set (7 minutes) lots of fun reactionary moments during filming including goofs, tech issues, stunts, effects, impromptu character discussions and lots out & out lunacy.
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
Want to hear more? Check out my podcast review of Bellflower here.

Bellflower is available on DVD as of November 22, 2011. Check it out over at &

Shannon's Overall View:
I wanted to love it
I may watch it again
I'd recommend it to indie film fans and dark relationship dramas

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© Shannon Ridler, 2011



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