By Adam Frazier
Written and directed by Evan Glodell, “Bellflower” is about Woodrow (Glodell) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson), two guys whose hearts are set on the end of the world. They spend all their free time building flamethrowers and customizing bad-ass muscle cars in hopes that their imaginary gang, Mother Medusa, will rule the wastelands of the apocalypse.
While waiting for the bleak future of “The Road Warrior” to become a reality, Woodrow falls head-over-heels in love with Milly (Jessie Wiseman), a charismatic young woman he meets during, beyond all things, a cricket eating contest.The two carry out a beautifully reckless romance that interferes with Woodrow and Aiden’s plans of world domination.
“Bellflower” has an incredibly different feel to it than other films. This is probably the result of cinematographer Joel Hodge’s shooting style and the one-of-a-kind camera designed and built by Glodell, who combined vintage camera parts, bellows and Russian lenses around a digital cinema camera.
The film itself feels almost radioactive, the colors burn intensely – dark crimson blood on white t-shirts, the gorgeous chaos of reds, yellows and oranges swirling together in long streams of flame. There’s this frenetic energy behind the lens, a delicate balance between optimistic young love and apocalyptic sadism.
It’s like “(500) Days of Summer” was cornered and raped into submission by “Requiem for a Dream.” OK, so maybe that’s harsh imagery – one film reel forcibly tangling it’s 35mm print with another – but you get the idea. The film is beautiful and bleak, with a “Death Proof” muscle car that spits flames and dispenses whiskey. Stuntman Mike would certainly approve.
It’s this juxtaposition that makes “Bellflower” so rewarding – you truly have no idea what’s going to happen next – the film takes a bizarre series of twists and turns that leave you questioning what is reality and what is just some apocalyptic fantasy.
Even if apocalyptic love stories aren’t your bag (and seriously, if it isn’t, what the hell’s your problem?) “Bellflower” marks the arrival of writer/director/actor Evan Glodell as a legitimate talent – an ambitious filmmaker whose stylish vision was fully realized on a shoestring budget and a homemade camera.
If you’ve ever dreamed of roaring down the dirt roads of an apocalyptic wasteland in a matte black muscle car with a flamethrower and a sawed-off shotgun, then you’ll absolutely connect with the characters. Coincidentally, if you’ve ever had your heart broken or felt betrayed by a crazy bitch then you’ll also relate to the characters – a little something for everybody, right?