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 has 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.
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BELLFLOWER | Written and directed by EVAN GLODELL | Oscilloscope Pictures | Nuart