In Evan Glodell’s Bellflower, two best friends obsessed with the apocalypse get a bit of what they’re asking for.
Woodrow and Aiden have been best friends ever since they left Wisconsin or California for no good reason. They dreamed of dominating a Mad Max-esque apocalypse. They wanted to control the situation in their black muscle car, apocalyptic motorcycle and by instilling fear with their fearsome flamethrower. Into their 20’s they yearned for this.
Bellflower puts viewers on edge for a moment, imitating the actions of a post-apocalyptic film. But when it turns itself into a human drama with truth and consequences becoming the biggest weapons available to its characters, it is suddenly realized what Glodell (who also wrote and starred in the film as Woodrow) is getting at with his story.
The two friends so badly want their world to explode. They speak of it in jest, but like any fanatic who dreams of a zombie uprising or the end of the world, they can’t handle problems in their own life that are similar or milder than the ones they’d face in the midst of an apocalyptic world event.
Woodrow meets Milly at a bar. Their relationship, in the first act of the film, grows with a glowing beauty of recklessness and abandonment. They are Bonnie and Clyde without the drama. For now. Though there is a feverish sense to Glodell’s film that, while telling Bellflower‘s story in quick segments, has us itching to understand development and ambiguously described actions. We see things in the opening frames that predict the film’s future events, meaning they aren’t a surprise, just a most welcomed yet unfortunate afterthought to what we wished wouldn’t happen to Milly and Woodrow.
I take a step back from this film, think for awhile and try to ask myself why Glodell isn’t the next great American filmmaker. His style and narrative is incredible. And to make Bellflower for under $500,000 is an accomplishment that’s worth an entire book describing to us how he got it done. Glodell, who also for the record puts forth a very good performance, makes his mark on the scene and I can’t wait to follow this artist’s career even further.
Bellflower expresses love to apocalyptic films like Mad Max, but at the same time it creates its own persona and identity through a blurred and bright palette of colors. It is unique that while it pays tribute to films that came before it that it also creates it’s own way of telling a story and showing images to its audience. Glodell makes it all eye-popping, attractive and delicious. This isn’t a film you want to turn your eyes away from.
That said, the narrative and character relation is itself a mini apocalypse. The two best friends continuously yearn for the end of the world. Okay, maybe not for real, but they talk about how their Medusa gang would excel in a world that is about to be destroyed. It makes for great parallels when their own intimate lives are ruined by lies, cheats and deception. The way they handle those moments (and the way their counterparts handle them) are exemplary of a person who isn’t ready for what they ask for. Woodrow and Aiden are insane and irresponsible. They, and the characters they interact with, are destructive and only exist inside themselves. The only punishment they receive comes from within their small circle. The world hardly pays them a visit.
Bellflower isn’t the best indie film of the year. Another Earth existed in 2011. Sorry guys. Regardless, this is one impressive effort from a group of amateurs who had a vision and stuck to it. If Glodell keeps it up, there’s no telling how far he can go. This is better than a lot of work most filmmakers (or triple threat artists for that matter) put forward.
Also can we make sure the beautiful Rebekah Brandes gets more roles? Thanks.