Red Road

Red Road, directed by Andrea Arnold, focuses on Jackie (played by Kate Dickie), who is obsessed with Clyde (played by Tony Curran), a felon recently been paroled for an offense of some sort. The film takes place in Glasgow, is in English, but has English subtitles for the benefit of audiences who will not fathom lower-class accented speech. Glasgow is one of several British cities with cameras at various locations, presumably in the most crime-infested parts of town. Jackie sits in a control room, monitoring about fifty screens. She is able to change the position of the camera to follow action. Filmviewers will gain sympathy for her as she directs police to assist a homeless woman and others in need. However, her pursuit of Clyde goes beyond her job. She barges her way into Clyde’s apartment, pretending to be an invited guest, and she even takes a taxi to a pub where Clyde hangs out. The mystery of the film is to determine why Jackie is so obsessed that she has sex with Clyde so that she can subsequently have him charged with rape, but eventually the truth comes out, and she soon drops all charges. What is of particular interest in the film is the Orwellian manner in which a British city is so closely monitored, and there is an element of reality TV in the format. Red Road demonstrates CCTV’s benign aspects as well as how the surveillance system can be abused. Indeed, one estimate is that CCTV cameras record the average Briton 300 times a day. Filmviewers must decide for themselves whether the loss of privacy justifies the system. MH

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