Red Road asks the question about what sort of life you can lead after you feel, following a traumatic event, there is no longer any meaning to life. It does it via the thriller genre primarily through its labyrinthine narrative; it’s a full 90 minutes into the movie before we actually know what happened. The film has a modern riff with its use of CCTV that accentuates the fact that Jackie is no longer living her own life as she, for her job, watches others.
Writer-director Andrea Arnold astutely uses mise en scene to hint at Jackie’s underlying sexual desires/frustrations and sets up the disturbing scene when she confronts her nemesis Clive. The only misstep, I think, is making the determinedly proletariat character interested in tree sculpting; it’s as if he has to be more than proletarian to be redeemable. A minor complaint about a riveting directorial debut.