Red Cockroaches DVD Review
Written by Peter West
DVD released by Heretic Films
Written and directed by Miguel Coyula
2003, Region 1 (NTSC), 88 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on September 27th, 2005
Adam Plotch as Adam Zarrasky
Talia Rubel as Lily Zarrasky
Diane Spodarek as Krista Zarrasky
Jeff Pucillo as Nick
Limor Shopen as Monica Zaister
Adam Zarrasky lives in a alternative reality to our own. New York City is ravaged by acid rain and mutant bugs. The county's culture is dominated by the DNA 21 Corporation, which specialized in returning "loved ones". While waiting for a subway car, Zarrasky makes eye contact with a young woman who smiles back at him and then disappears. Zarrasky who had been disappointed in the way his life has been going suddenly dumps his girlfriend Monica. Advertising for a roommate, this mysterious young woman then appears at his door to check out his apartment. She's a French girl named Lily who is full of herself and after a few contentious minutes, decides not to share the apartment and leaves.
Adam's mother and best friend Nick are concerned about the changes in his mood and personality, while Adam says he is looking for more in his life. When he visits the grave of his father and sister, Adam spots the young French woman again, spontaneously they embrace and Adam starts to force himself upon her until they are interrupted by the cemetery's caretaker. As mysteriously as Lily appeared, she is gone again.
Their separation is short-lived as Lily is once again in Adam's life. However the truth of who Lily really is and why she has involved herself in Adam's life is revealed. Despite the consequences Adam and Lily begin a destructive relationship which they both know can have no happy ending!
I really did not know what to expect when watching Red Cockroaches. Personally, a lot of films that attract the kind of critical review (20 awards) that this movie did usually only build up my hopes to only be dashed by disappointed. Red Cockroaches is not one of those films. Within minutes I was drawn into the story and fascinated by the mysteriously Lily. When in the comfort of the "Danger Seeker" mansion, I normally take a couple of smoke breaks when watching a film. I never left my seat!
Red Cockroaches is a film that is like food for your mind. Miguel Coyula creates an experience where you are a voyeur into the lives of these characters. I almost felt dirty in wanting the relationship of Adam and Lily to consummate, something that if you watch the film, you will know what I am talking about.
Coyula assembled a cast of stage proven actors and uses the talents learned from his previous projects in Cuba well. Red Cockroaches was initially created as a project to do during his year long scholarship at NYC's Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. Instead he created a film that is comparable to Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi. I would not be surprised if in five years or so that Miguel Coyula's name is mentioned up there with that of Rodriguez!
Video and Audio:
Shot on DV, Red Cockroaches is presented in a 1.85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen. Post production then added the futuristic atmosphere of crawling bugs, flying cars and dreary weather conditions. For a movie that had a budget of only $2000, a lot of hard work went into the finished product. The picture far exceeds it's meager finances.
Red Cockroaches has a Dolby 2.0 soundtrack that director Miguel Coyula provided for the film. Full of John Carpenter like techno sounds from synthesizers, it works well with the content of the movie. A further testimony to the talents of Coyula.
There's a featurette on the making of the film that Coyula takes us through. Along with deleted scenes, outtakes, storyboards, a short film by Coyula, Heretic Films gives us the kind of extras that we have come to expect from good indie films. Coyula also does a feature length running commentary. For his native Spanish speaking audience, subtitles are also included.
Films that Peter West reviews are played on a Pioneer Elite DV-59AVi DVD player, viewed on a Mitsubishi WS-55413 HDTV and listened to on a THX certified Pioneer Elite VSX-56TXi A/V Receiver through a 7.1 setup of JBL Northridge E series Speakers.
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