Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Redneck (1973)

Redneck" was not the Southern-set rural Hicksploitation flick that I thought it was going to be, but rather an Italian-made crime-gone-awry film starring Franco Nero and Telly Savalas as Mosquito and Memphis respectively. The two of them play jewel store robbers who in process of getting away (via an outrageously crazy car chase sequence) accidentally kidnap a young boy named Lennox (Mark Lester of “Oliver” fame). Lennox is an effeminate lad who is in disparate need of a father figure, so much so that he projects that need onto Mosquito. Nero's performance is one of confusion, repressed anger, and despair.

Telly's Memphis on the other hand is in a different world entirely; he's a hayseed chewing, spiritual singing caricature that has more in common with Robert Downey Jr's performance in “Tropic Thunder” than with any 'redneck' I've ever met. He shoots a kid, assaults a prostitute, and kills a German family in the middle of their picnic, and all the while hysterically maintains his innocence to God, claiming repeatedly that it wasn't his fault, and that they made him do it.

By the end of the film Franco Nero is completely fucked up, shivering in the snow, covered in filth and blood, and forced to wear a woman's Tiger-skin jacket. Lennox and him are reduced to dragging a wounded Memphis through the woods and across the snow in an attempt to reach the border. All the while, Memphis suffers near-death hysteria as his crotch is covered in blood, and the police zero in on them. This movie is so crazy that the final gun battle involves a person being shot by bullet that causes them to perform a cartwheel before quietly exiting this world.

Overall, "Redneck" is a surprisingly good Thriller that's really worth checking out for Savalas' bizarro performance.

1 comment:

Micah said...

Great post... includes one of my favorite Telly moments ever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTzNcMCVunE