Ida Red is a hugely entertaining under the radar action thriller with a winning cast and some surprisingly awesome action.
Plot: Ida “Red” Walker may not survive her terminal illness while incarcerated for armed robbery. She turns to her son, Wyatt, for one last job and a chance to regain her freedom.
Review: I love when a movie comes from nowhere and ends up being a treat and that’s exactly what Ida Red is; it’s essentially a tale of family and how far you’ll go for them but it’s filled with some awesome R rated action moments. There are some spectacular headshots and there is a climactic street shoot-out which is one of the year’s best.
With a cast that includes Josh Hartnett, Frank Grillo, Melissa Leo, Deborah Ann Woll and William Forsythe that’s reason alone to check this out; I had no expectations at all for it and was pleasantly surprised by how well paced it was and the performances were faultless. Frank Grillo is at his most deranged playing a vicious killer who at one point even dances before he shoots someone in cold blood. Josh Hartnett has always been cool and he’s a complicated character here where we aren’t sure if we should root for him as he’s a criminal but frankly he’s more sympathetic than any of the cops.
George Carroll is the good guy cop Bodie Collier who is working with Special Agent Lawrence Twilley (Forsythe) to bring down a group of robbers and Collier knows fine well it’s his brother in law Wyatt (Hartnett). I felt Collier wasn’t given enough screen time so he was underused and the main focus was Wyatt and Dallas (Grillo) which felt deliberate; if he had more to do we might have been more on his side. William Forsythe is one of my favourite actors and I will watch any film if I see his name in the credits; he doesn’t even need to speak but his sheer presence mesmerizes especially here.
Sofia Hublitz is wonderfully complex as Darla Walker who is angry at the world and her “mother” but she also hangs out with the wrong crowd and seems headed down a similar path to her brothers.
There are some nice heartfelt moments and it’s unpredictable with an underlying feeling of menace throughout keeping things moving along nice.
Overall, Ida Red was a pleasant surprise with excellent performances, an epic shoot-out at the end and several moments of hard R violence; the cast are at the top of their game too making this one worth checking out.