'Red Rocket': A Wonderfully Transgressive Depiction of a Down-on-His Luck Adult Film Star
Red Rocket (2021) is the serio-comic tale of a down-on-his-luck adult film actor named Mikey Saber (Simon Rex) forced to leave California and trudge home to the Gulf Coast of Texas. Homeless and penniless, Mikey coerces his estranged wife Lexi (Bree Elrod) and mother-in-law Lil (Brenda Deiss) into taking him in while he searches for employment.
With little legitimate experience, Mikey's unable to sway would-be employers and instead begins selling marijuana for local dealer Leondria (Judy Hill) as his sole means of subsistence. Despite his dire predicament, however, Mikey maintains enormous swagger every step of the way—regaling all comers with tales of his pornographic grandeur. Ultimately he becomes enamored with a lithesome young Donut Shop employee named Strawberry (Suzanna Son), setting the stage for a wildly transgressive tale of adoration, persuasion and conflict.
Co-written and directed by emerging indie auteur Sean Baker (Tangerine, The Florida Project), Red Rocket is a vibrant and often hilarious depiction of a naïvely narcissistic hustler bent on reclamation of his own perverse glory—incapable of resisting every opportunity to charm, deceive and exploit. Rex is an absolute revelation is his magnetic performance as the egomaniacal Mikey, a borderline sociopath and one of the greatest anti-heroes of recent cinematic memory.
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