Giovanni's Blu-ray Review: BELLFLOWER
Hollywood studios spend tens of millions of dollars to create visually compelling films. The filmmakers behind the Sundance-hit Bellflower spent $17,000. That’s an amazing figure for a film that involves two friends building a flamethrower, and souped-up Mad- Max muscle car in case the apocalypse hits. But using their shoestring-budget wisely, the filmmakers create an absolutely incredible experience by giving equal attention to the film’s emotional and visual qualities. Exploring themes or hyper-masculinity and power, Bellflower follows on of the aforementioned friends, Woodrow, as he embarks on a relationship with the eccentric Milly. But the romance story is only the tip of the iceberg; once things inevitably get sour between the two, Woodrow becomes mentally unstable, resulting in a dark psychological thriller that perfectly visualizes how many men mentally react to heartbreak.
Shooting on a camera that writer/director/lead actor/co-editor Evan Glodell actually invented, the film has an amazingly unique visual aesthetic. Painting the world in harsh yellows and grimy dark tones, the world looks as if it has ended already, emphasizing Woodrow’s personal apocalypse. Glodell and his crew clearly had an incredibly specific vision for the story, and seeing that play out on screen is simply breathtaking. Bellflower is a haunting triumph of low-budget independent filmmaking, and quite possibly one of the strongest feature debuts from a director ever.
Special Features Breakdown
- The 23-minute featurette follows the film from its early stages of production to its massive debut at Sundance. Glodell and the crew offer great insight about the background of the story, and some funny anecdotes on the long shooting process. But one thing that severely lacking here is any talk of the camera Glodell created for the film. There’s so much information about other tech elements, like the creation of the flamethrower, but nothing on that fascinating element. As a result, the featurette feels a bit lacking, leaving out some of the film’s most fascinating qualities.
- While no light is shed on the mysterious camera, this featurette does give an extensive rundown of the car, the Medusa, built for the film. It’s like a 10-minute episode of Pimp My Ride, with Glodell showing off his flame-spitting monster. Glodell keeps the technical talk to a minimum, making the explanation easily understandable for those less automatively educated. Both fans of the film and car-junkies in general will likely find the segment fascinating.
- While there are no deleted scenes, the disc does contain a 7-minute outtake reel. Though, there’s nothing terribly funny in the batch, making the inclusion feel a bit like feature padding. There’s a few fun moments of effects going haywire, but the rest of the flubs and improv dialogue feels more like it’s there for the filmmakers than the audience.
BELLFLOWER follows two friends as they venture out into the world to begin their adult lives. Literally all their free time is spent building flame-throwers and weapons of mass destruction in hopes that a global apocalypse will occur and clear the runway for their imaginary gang "Mother Medusa".
While waiting for the world to end, their call to excitement comes unexpectedly when one of them meets a charismatic young woman and falls hard in love. Quickly integrated into a new group of friends, they set off on a journey of betrayal, love, hate, infidelity and extreme violence more devastating and fiery than any of their apocalyptic fantasies.
BELLFLOWER, the critically acclaimed feature-length debut from director Evan Glodell, is now available on iTunes and will be released on DVD and Blu-ray November 15th, 2011.