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Ida Red may not survive her 20-year prison sentence for armed robbery. She turns to her son, Wyatt, for one last job and a chance to regain her freedom.


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"Ida Red" 11 2021 .


Film Review: IDA RED: Action-Packed Conclusion Saves Crime Drama From Mediocrity [Fantasia 2021]

Ida Red Review

Ida Red (2021) Film Review from the 25th Annual Fantasia International Film Festival, a movie directed by John Swab, and starring Frank Grillo, Josh Hartnett, Melissa Leo, Deborah Ann Woll, Nicholas Cirillo, William Forsythe, Mark Boone Junior, Sofia Hublitz, Beau Knapp, John Swab, George Carroll, Billy Blair, Bruce Davis, Ben Hall, Tim Mikulecky, Cara Cox and James Whitecloud.

John Swabs film, Ida Red, helps bring actor Josh Hartnett back to the movies with a vengeance. Hartnett plays the films best role and his Wyatt Walker is the most likable character in the film. The fact that hes playing a criminal doesnt matter. We root for him throughout, for whatever reason. Wyatt is dealing with his mother Ida (Melissa Leo)s imprisonment for wrongful doings. To complicate matters, Ida is also dying. The films premise revolves around Wyatt and his uncle Dallas (Frank Grillo) trying to get Ida to come home to her family so she can die in peace. That will be much easier said than done as the events of the film unfold.

In the early part of the film, which is set in Tulsa, there is a lot of emphasis on Wyatts family. We meet his sister Jeanie (Deborah Ann Woll) and her teenage daughter Darla (Sofia Hublitz). Wyatt is a hard worker and, for the most part, a good guy, its just that his mother is a criminal which holds the family unit back from true happiness. Darla plays a key role in the film as we follow her through her interest in a young man in town who she hooks up with all the way up until a major plot detail is revealed that directly concerns her character. Hublitz is a bright up-and-coming actress and turns in one of the films best performances.

Uncle Dallas is a ticking time bomb and as played to perfection by Grillo, we get to see all his rage and violence as he doesnt mind killing anyone who gets in the way of his plans. There is a lot going on in the films first half and its a little hard to follow it all without a scorecard. There is family drama on top of violence and the first part of the movie is not as successful as the second half when it really picks up a lot of steam. Wyatt and Dallas must fight to get Ida out of jail for her final days and violence saturates the film as everything that could go wrong does go wrong.

One such problem with getting Ida out of jail is a member of the parole board (Ben Hall) who, even after much persuasion, doesnt seem like hes going to let Ida go free. William Forsythe plays an FBI agent who teams up with Jeanies husband to take down Wyatt and Dallas in their plans to try to set Ida free as well. Its basically a no-win situation (or is it?) as Wyatt and Dallas are determined to go out in a blaze of glory all in the name of family.

The ending scenes of the picture make the film work successfully. There is an action-packed finale and some real suspense as to whether or not Ida can be set free from jail. Melissa Leo doesnt get a lot of screen time as Ida but she nails her speech to the parole board towards the end. The big action centerpiece of the film that arrives late in the picture can remind one of the best of Michael Manns films such as Heat. Its absolutely bound to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

Hartnett make a huge comeback through his work in this picture. His role is the most relatable and we actually sympathize with his predicament. Grillo is a reliable psychopath and the whole cast, for the most part, acquits themselves admirably in their roles with Forsythe one of the major standouts in the picture.

There are some scenes which really dont work at all such as one scene where Madonnas Crazy For You is played in a scene which has little to do with the song. I had to check my screen to make sure that another movies sound wasnt playing over this ones! But, in all, if you can make it until the ending, there are plenty of action sequences and a lot of deep family drama that make Ida Red a worthwhile film.

Rating: 7/10

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Ida Red: Locarno Review

Writer-director John Swab continues his quest to put his midwestern home town of Tulsa on the cinematic map with Ida Red, a brooding, occasionally bloody crime-thriller with noir and western undertones that is chiefly notable for a strong ensemble cast. World-premiering in the audience-friendly Piazza Grande section of Locarno, this is a low/medium-budget American independent film of deliberately old-fashioned stripe.
Aimed at a relatively mature audience which may now prefer to download or stream such entertainments, Swabs competently handled but essentially low-key third solo feature could be a tricky theatrical sell for US distributor Universal. But down the line it may conceivably generate a little awards-season heat for Oscar-winner Melissa Leo, who makes the most of her supporting role as the eponymous Ida, longtime criminal queenpin of backwater Oklahoma.

Sentenced to a long stretch behind bars after a heist went catastrophically wrong and left her a widow, perpetually scheming, flame-haired sixtysomething Ida learns she has only months to live. She is determined to expire in the free air of liberty, a desire ardently shared by her family headed in her absence by nephew Dallas (Frank Grillo) and her son Wyatt (Josh Hartnett), who make their living holding up trucks on remote highways.

Moving fluently between numerous plot-strands and characters, Swab gradually zeroes in on the individual who unexpectedly emerges as next-generation standard-bearer for the clans nefarious traditions: precocious 15-year-old high-schooler Darla (Sofia Hublitz). Raised in straight-arrow by fashion by Wyatts sister Jeannie (Deborah Ann Woll) whose husband Bodie (George Carroll) is a cop, no less Darla initially manifests her kins rebellious ways via minor high-school infractions. Romantic travails and family-related revelations see her steadily escalate into more felonious terrain.

The development of Darla from semi-marginal figure to quasi-protagonist is the most susprising element of Swabs screenplay; he is otherwise fairly content to recycle familiar tropes of the rural-crime sub-genre, most successfully essayed over the past decade by William Friedkins Killer Joe (2011) and David Mackenzies Hell Or High Water (2016). Swabs debt to earlier antecedent At Close Range (1986) is meanwhile signalled by his needle-drop deployment of a Madonna hit from the same era, Crazy For You, (James Foleys original pivoting heavily upon Live To Tell.)

There is a certain pleasure in seeing a fairly new voice essay such familiar turf with steady professionalism, even if Swab at this stage has yet to develop much of a distinctive personal style. The occasional bygone-era elaborate wipe between scenes is perhaps his only significant flourish; too often Swab relies upon the busy score by David Sardy when he needs to amp up the mood.

The writer-director is still something of a relative neophyte, however, having co-directed and co-written Let Me Make You A Martyr (2016) with Corey Asraf, before moving on alone to Run With The Hunted (2019) and Body Brokers, which surfaced only this February and also featured several faces from Ida Red including Leo and Grillo. Swabs fourth solo effort Candy Land is already in post-production.

Each of these downbeat dramas is set in and/or around Tulsa, previously best known movie-wise as the backdrop for Francis Ford Coppolas Rumble Fish (1983). Swabs ambition of creating and sustaining film-production in the area is a commendable one (the same names keep cropping up on both sides of the camera across all his works), even if this latest enterprise fails to evoke the region in any palpably atmospheric way. Most of the action in Ida Red mainly set around 2010, and named after the traditional folk song popularised in the 1930s by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys which formed the basis for Chuck Berrys smash Maybellene could be unfolding in almost any rural or semi-rural area of the United States.

Swabs strong suit, conversely, lies in the selection and handling of his performers. Deborah Ann Woll (as the Walker familys one white sheep,) Ben Hall (enjoyably channelling John Carradine as an untrustworthy parole-board officer) and Bruce Davis (as a loquacious Black churchman with sinful inclinations) stand out among several better-known names. The latter include millennial pinup Hartnett, continuing his surprise comeback after  a much less taxing role in Guy Ritchies Wrath Of Man. Occasionally a thespian himself (including briefly here), Swab is evidently an actors director with whom performers both established and inexperienced feel comfortable a trait that bodes well for his future career in Tulsa and/or beyond.


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Exclusive: 'Ida Red' Trailer Reveals a Compelling Heist Thriller Starring Josh Hartnett, Melissa Leo, and Frank Grillo

'Ida Red' will be released in theaters, On-Demand, and Digital on November 5.

By Carly Lane

Saban Films has unveiled the trailer and poster for Ida Red, and Collider has your exclusive look at the upcoming action crime thriller film starring Josh Hartnett (Wrath of Man, Penny Dreadful), Academy Award-winning actress Melissa Leo (The Fighter, Frozen River), and Frank Grillo (Boss Level, The Purge franchise). The movie will be released in theaters, On-Demand, and Digital on November 5.

Leo plays the titular Ida "Red" Walker in the film, a crime boss who appears to be orchestrating things just fine from her place behind bars, while Hartnett plays her son Wyatt, who has followed in his mother's footsteps primarily because, as he says as one point, "it's in our blood." As Red faces down a hefty prison sentence, she reaches out to Wyatt to help her pull off one last heist.

The only problem is that Wyatt's not so sure he wants to live a life of crime anymore, and becomes trapped between an obligation to family and striving to emancipate himself from his mother's clutches. Hartnett and Leo are definitely the acting face-off of powerhouses that anchors this intense trailer, but it's always a pleasure to see Grillo pop up when you least expect him to.
Ida Red is written and directed by John Swab (Body Brokers, Let Me Make You a Martyr). In addition to Hartnett, Leo, and Grillo, the film stars Sofia Hublitz (Ozark), William Forsythe (The Devil's Rejects, Raising Arizona), and Deborah Ann Woll (Daredevil, True Blood).

Saban Films will release Ida Red in theaters, On Demand, and Digital on November 5. Check out the first action-packed trailer and poster below:

Here's the official synopsis for Ida Red:

    Crime boss Ida "Red" Walker (Oscar winner Melissa Leo) turns to her son, Wyatt (Josh Hartnett), to pull off one last heist to get out of prison. But with the FBI closing in, Wyatt must choose between family and freedom in this high-octane thriller.


'Ida Red': The rise and fall and rise again of the amazing Josh Hartnett

Once named the Sexiest Vegetarian Alive, actor Josh Hartnett returns as the son of a crime boss in brand new action thriller
By Shirley Tayshete

Ask anyone from the 2000s who Josh Hartnett is and they'll tell you all about a heartthrob who they adored. Dubbed as the 'next Tom Cruise' after a bunch of hit films, he decided that the fame was just not for him. His fame was such that Hartnett was offered career-defining roles like Clark Kent aka Superman, Spiderman, and even Batman, but turned them down.

This even saw him lose agents for a bit while he was being labeled the 3rd Sexiest Male by Bliss Magazine. After he made a gradual return, things were tougher, but the actor was happier. In 2014, 'Penny Dreadful' saw the critics and audience give him a warm welcome back to the world of TV as the prodigy returned on a larger scale. Read on to know why the star left the Hollywood scene for a bit and what he was up to.
Why did Josh Hartnett stay away from screens?

To put it quite simply, Josh Hartnett got tired -- tired of the fame, tired of the work he was expected to do, and tired of being in the spotlight. Showbiz is something that comes with a lot of pressure and this eventually got to him. While he didn't completely disappear from our screens he did decide to get selective with his roles and chose those he truly wanted to participate in. The actor has even shared that he found his 20s so overwhelming that we went back to his hometown for a while to escape the heat of Hollywood. Although he made fewer appearances over the years, 2020 saw him return in a bigger role Kip Riley in 'Inherit the Viper'.

Many wondered what Hartnett does when he's not working on projects. The actor also has a dedication to working for various causes and participating in different campaigns. He took out time in 2007 to work for the Global Cool living campaign in order to raise awareness regarding climate change. He was also one of the few celebrities who worked with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Ad Council's FWD campaign which was an awareness initiative that highlighted and spread facts about 2011's East Africa drought. In 2012, Hartnett also joined Barack Obama in his campaign in Minnesota before formally endorsing the President on the official campaign YouTube channel. The actor is currently taking things at his own pace after learning from his younger days.

Hartnett at 43 is set to star in 'Ida Red' a crime action drama in the lead role of Wyatt Walker. The synopsis reads, "Crime boss Ida "Red" Walker(Melissa Leo) turns to her son, Wyatt(Josh Hartnett), to pull off one last heist to get out of prison. However, with the FBI closing in, Wyatt must soon choose between family and freedom.

'Ida Red' is set to release on Novermber 5, 2021. Lets see if he does well in the eyes of an expectant audience.


Interview: Melissa Leo Discusses Her Role In Ida Red

John Swabs crime drama Ida Red is currently available to rent or own on digital platforms. The film features a top notch cast that includes Josh Hartnett, Frank Grillo, William Forsythe and Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo.

Crime boss Ida Red Walker turns to her son, Wyatt, to pull off one last heist to get out of prison, says the official synopsis. However, with the FBI closing in, Wyatt must soon choose between family and freedom.

ComingSoon was able to sit down with Melissa Leo to discuss her pivotal role in the film.

Jeff Ames: I saw you guys had worked together on a previous film, Body Brokers. Is that what ultimately attracted you to Ida Red?

Melissa Leo: Actually, what attracted to the project was another film John had done called Run with the Hunted. He had asked me to be a part of that and when I read the part, I didnt like the way he was using the female character. I talked long and hard with him about it, it wasnt an easy conversation to have, hes clearly a very conscientious careful filmmaker. But, in the long run, he understood me and actually removed the character from the script and went along and made Run with the Hunted.

Then he came to me again! Which filmmakers just dont do especially if you say, No, thank you! But I had told him if there was something in the future to bring it along and by God he did, which was bold and brave and smart of him. I played a small part in Body Brokers. Body Brokers is a fascinating film. If you have not seen that film yet I urge you to go see it. It has a social message in it that is only more and more important to be understood with the insurance scam going on with the drug rehabilitation in this country.

So, then he comes to me with Ida Red and now Im a John Swab junkie. I think hes brilliant and willing and able and not just talking about making movies but actually making movies. That makes me interested and excited. So, I agreed to be in a film that may not be my favorite kind of movie, but its a lot of peoples type of movie.

I imagine Ida is a difficult role to play because you have very limited screen time, but you have to establish this character whose presence is greatly felt throughout the film.

For that, I have to thank my comrades in acting Frank [Grillo] and Josh [Hartnett], and Mark Boone Junior. The respect that those grizzly white men pay to Ida Red is what makes you feel that way about her. And for Melissa Leo to play somebody who is respected the way shes respected, adored, and cared for thats a remarkable marching order for a female actor of a certain age who has been asked to play the bitch and the nasty one and the root of all the problems; and all these ridiculous connotations of what a woman of a certain age is.

So, I can see why you say its difficult, but for me it was really easy because it was such a pleasure to slip into her clothes and play this woman who, even while behind bars, is still completely respected and adored by her family.

We shot in the summer of 2020, so there was all that going on. It was one of the first films that was being shot once the protocols had been given the giddy up go to filmmakers to start work again, right? And Josh was involved in all the meetings about the protocols and understood them thoroughly and made that very clear to all of us. So, it was an incredibly safe environment. If youre going to play something with an edge of danger, its great to have a safe environment because then you can play with the danger of it because you feel safe.

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Whats interesting about Ida is that, despite everything she has done, I still empathized with her. Was that a sentiment you shared or was that just me?

No, I really appreciate the comment. Its very important for the actor playing the character, even Josh Brolin playing George W. Bush for Gods sake you gotta love the character. For me, thats why Josh was successful in that role because he didnt sit around thinking about all the ways Josh didnt like that guy, right? But finds the adoration of him. Finds the way he might think about himself. Thats where the actors head needs to be in portraying the role.

Heres the truth about America today and its probably one of the most beautiful things about Johns action adventure film: its a complicated world. There are people in very fancy homes in very fancy suites and cars who are committing crimes way beyond anything Idas family has ever done I mean real crimes against humanity and theyre not considered criminals. So, theres just enough in the story to suggest these people want to live a different life but theres no way out for them. And if youve ever spent time in Tulsa, you will know for a fact there are white people in that circumstance in this country today. And probably many more than are people who are living pristine lives and keeping their families together.

At its core, Ida Red is a movie about a family that, as you said, loves each other and is doing what they can to survive. Is that one of the key aspects that drew you to the film?

I think thats the truth of Johns film, that it is a film about family. What hangs a family together and what separates a family you know, theres the other daughter whos never going to speak with her mother again. Ida understands that. Her older daughter has made another choice. I think that the younger daughter gets it this no way-out situation. You could live with nothing not enough to eat and no clothing but if you had an opportunity to live a little better than that, would you not live a little better than that and not bring your family to that?

I think thats what makes the story universal and not simply a story about a crime family but about a family theyre doing what they can given the circumstances. Theres this assumption by people who live like you and I do in this country that theres not people who look like you and I who live below the poverty line. I lived below the poverty line for Gods sake! If I wasnt an actor, I met have very well been a criminal.

Its not about the excitement its about the survival. Its exciting to watch, sure, but its also something to think about.

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