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Red White & Blue



She's just the girl you bring home for an hour or so, and tag-team with two of your friends. Hey, it's her idea.

Early scenes of "Red White & Blue" depict this lost young woman's sad existence in Austin, Texas, literally having a one-night stand (if even that long) with anyone who'll ask. Her principles are few, one of which sounds like a 007 flick: never the same guy twice.

She's kicked out of the apartment she's been staying for free when the scruffy Nate (an unrecognizable Noah Taylor, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") moves in as a paying tenant. That leaves her unemployed and homeless, but Nate makes good on the inconvenience he inadvertently wrought by getting her a job at the Home Depot-style warehouse where he works.

You'd think a tiny little woman like Erica (she looks like Ellen Page meets Rachel McAdams, but with a poor complexion) would be out of place there, but she makes friends with her fellow co-workers by retreating to the restroom for sexual favors. When one is forced on her, however, Nate comes to her rescue. Finally, it seems, someone actually cares about her.
Enter Franki (Marc Senter, "Cabin Fever 2"), a sleazy guitarist with a big problem on his hands. To reveal it would be to spoil the surprise that disrupts Nate and Erica's chance, if an oddly platonic one, at happiness. Some serious wrenches are thrown, literal and figurative.

"Red White & Blue" begins provocatively (but, it should be noted, not erotically), then meanders around before switching tones so fast, viewers may be jarred. Considering they're still around, that is — "The Living and the Dead" writer/director Simon Rumley's film is nothing is not forever bleak, offering neither relief no true ray of hope.

His ending leaves things open to interpretation, as does the title. Perhaps that's his way of saying that nothing comes easy. That's true; this is tough, depressing going, no matter how natural and effective its performances. —Rod Lott

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