Red Riding Hood can (and should) be characterized as a schizoid movie. There’s a definite split personality moment there, though whether you’ll spot it or not mainly depends on how well you’re acquainted with psychoanalytic readings of fairy tales. If you’re a teen or something close by, chances are you probably won’t. That’s okay – says Hardwicke – for you, we have a teen-werewolf drama in store. Mustn’t let the Twilight opportunity pass us by. I’m saying this mainly because Red Riding Hood is such an obvious patchwork of “mainstream” psychoanalytical themes, motifs and symbolisms. There’s an abundance of those so one has to conclude that it can’t be coincidental (or just some product of my deranged mind). Hardwicke did her readings diligently, like a good student she obviously is, or at least tries to be. What exactly did she read I can’t really tell (though I bet that quick Google search would provide me with an answer) nor is that of any particular importance. Whatever she might have read, she applied it consistently and without any sort of imagination. It reads like a textbook. That doesn’t necessarily makes it “bad” or out of place, it just makes it sort of redundant. (Un)fortunately, things are not as simple as that.
If Hardwicke were to stop at psychoanalysis the movie would have been okay. It would still read as an overzealous school project (or ass-kissing to be more direct) but you can’t really stop people from being too-literal about what they do. But, Hardwicke tries to reach for more. She’s not satisfied with a nod of approval from her geeky friends, she wants to get into the cool club as well. For this goal she needed something more than tons of references to concepts too abstract for your average guy/girl, and she went for a teen drama/romance which, after a splash made by Twilight, guaranteed her a chance to be noticed. Thing is, mediocrity is hard to shake off (I speak from experience). It leaves a trail within everything you try to do. Teen part of the Red Riding Hood is just as unimaginative as her usage of psychoanalytic (de)construction. Irony is, that’s just what it’s supposed to be. If you’re trying to make a quick grab at momentarily open wallets that that bleed cash on any crap that has werewolves or vampires in it, the last thing you should do is draw attention to yourself by imaginative, “radical”, or any kind of daring filmmaking which could alienate your potential customers. Funny thing is that you can see her heart’s not into it. Well, that’s an optimistic interpretation. The other one would be that she doesn’t quite understand how genre construction works.
After all of this has been said, I have to say one more thing. I actually quite liked this movie. Que? Well, think of it this way. Red Riding Hood is something like an old friend. You hear from him every now and then. Whenever you see him he still rants about same old stuff he used to rant about when you were kids. He’s not that intelligent, poor sod, but he gets by. Years pass and you meet him every so often. You start to notice some changes. He started to die his hair to attract younger chicks (which are not coming because he has no any money to speak of and that face just won’t hide his fifth decade of life), his stomach is somewhat flatter than it used to be, he has tons of this gadgets that he sees as an integral part of contemporary human condition, he still rants about same things he used to rant about but he changed his tune up to a degree (read some books in the meantime), he still bores the hell out of you but you still go and grab a beer with him. After all, he’s a mate.
|Directed by||Catherine Hardwicke|
|Produced by||Leonardo DiCaprio
Jennifer Davisson Killoran
|Written by||David Leslie Johnson|
|Music by||Brian Reitzell
|Editing by||Nancy Richardson
|Studio||Appian Way Productions|