Sean Baker returns in the first trailer for “Red Rocket,” which had its world premiere earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival and has since played top festivals like Telluride and NYFF. “Red Rocket” is Baker’s follow-up to “The Florida Project,” which also had the backing of A24 and went on to earn Willem Dafoe an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. This go-around Baker once again is working with nonprofessional actors and at least one semi-recognizable face in “Scary Movie” actor Simon Rex.
“Red Rocket” stars Rex as Mikey Saber, a porn star who winds up back in his hometown of Texas. It’s here where Mikey clashes with with his estranged wife (Bree Elrod) and connects with a young local named Strawberry (Suzanna Son) who might just be Mikey’s big ticket back into the adult film business. A24 bills the movie as “a darkly funny, raw, and humane portrait of a uniquely American hustler and a hometown that barely tolerates him.”
IndieWire chief film critic David Ehrlich called “Red Rocket” an “utterly singular” and “weirdly lovable” movie in his Critic’s Pick review out of the Cannes Film Festival, adding, “It’s a roman candle of a movie that wonders if America’s pathological narcissism will ever burn itself out.”
“Baker isn’t beating a similar retreat,” Ehrlich writes. “While ‘Red Rocket’ continues the ‘Tangerine’ and ‘The Florida Project’ filmmaker’s hot streak of unpatronizing, street-level stories about sex work in the survival economy, the movie immediately establishes a new visual approach to that familiar terrain. Here, Baker ditches the corporate utopia of Disney World in favor of a more rustic vision of the American Dream, exchanging the ultra-real harshness of his recent films in favor of a 16mm fuzz that combines the velvet touch of early Spielberg with the invasive eroticism of Italian exploitation (Baker cites ‘The Italian Connection’ and ‘Spasmo’ as specific touchstones).”
A24 is set to open “Red Rocket” in theaters December 3. The film is part of the studio’s awards season calendar along with “The Tragedy of Macbeth, “C’mon C’mon,” and more. Watch the official trailer for Baker’s latest in the video below.
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