“Why are you here?” That’s the question that’s spat at Simon Rex’s Mickey as he turns up broke on his scrawny wife’s porch in Texas. Nobody wants him here. Nobody wants him at all after he ran off to LA years ago. As a burnt-out porn star who’s ridden his charm until there’s nothing left to give, it doesn’t seem as if there isn’t any door left in Texas not waiting to be slammed in his face. However, Mickey isn’t one to give up.
Mickie’s hard-on for selfishness just doesn’t know when to give up...
An unscrupulous hustler, he lulls impressionable neighbour Lonnie into being his adhoc chauffeur. Dealing dope for the local drugs queen Leondria during their trips, Mickey slowly starts to bring the money in. Yet, in amongst all the permanent squabbles with his estranged wife, Lexi, a dangerously, delicious opportunity falls in his lap. On a random family treat out to the local doughnut store Mickey meets Raylee. Three months shy of her eighteenth birthday, and going by her preferred name of “Strawberry”, Mickie sees pornstar potential written all over her face.
Envisioning Strawberry as his fast track back into the porn business, Mickie’s hard-on for selfishness just doesn’t know when to give up. That is because if there’s something that Mickey is more addicted to than himself then it’s lying. And the longer you watch Red Rocket you’ll sense that this house of cards will come crashing down way before any aces can save Mickey’s hand.
In short, Red Rocket is an agonisingly ecstatic ride. Like a slow evolving car crash, when everything does come apart, it does so really fast.. Mickey has his getaway all planned and whilst you could see the destruction a mile off and you’ll still be hooked into the outcome nonetheless
And that’s the weird thing with Red Rocket. When it does actually end, it provides you with a finale that promises either redemption or damnation depending on which way you want to look at it.
Simon Rex and Bree Elrod deliver fantastically committed performances as Mickey and Lexi but it’s Suzanna Son’s beguiling Strawberry who will really have you wondering what will happen next. Like Michael Caine’s debut in 1966’s Alfie, in Red Rocket you walk alongside a magnetically despicable anti-hero whose escalating schemes increasingly beggars belief. Suffice to say, if you enjoyed Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya then this disaster movie will have your hands similarly buried deep into the popcorn as Mickey’s world comes undone.