Reds (1981)


Reds! is an interesting tale, to say the least. Chronicling the two revolutionary American paramores Jack Reed and Louise Bryant.  Placed at the forefront of the nineteenth century just as the first World War is coming to a decisive closure, our two lovers are yet undiscovered personalities who collide into each other upon a chance meeting at the local Liberal Club. Gravitating towards each other like two magnets the pair of writers find themselves in a whirlwind romance which becomes the basis for one of the most endearing love stories of our time.

Jack is a playboy of sorts, Louise a journalist; both are dignified and have their honor and both share a common thread-they are staunch anti-capitalists and revolutionaries waiting and organizing for the coming day where the workers revolt. Upon their meeting, yet after an all night discussion concerning all relevant events of the day, they decide to informally date. However the pressures of their radical ideals and the society in which they were raised are two difficult trivialities to surmount. In the end they marry thus sealing the fate of their pairing.

All marriages have rocky roads, however, and between Jack’s long stints away and Louise’s craving for love they each make mistakes. Separation made permanent seems like the only recourse. Yet upon a flimsy discovery the two are offered the opportunity to travel to Russia, the place where all of their convictions have been set into motion.

Revolutionary Russia though presents their own set of challenges and so with the Comintern recognizing the talent of Jack, yet with Louise becoming disenfranchised with the process of revolution, the two split physically, yet not emotionally; Louise returns to the United States and Jack to Russia.

Serving as a speaker on behalf of the American proletariat Jack travels from country to country rallying indigenous masses to a revolutionary banner. While this occurs his doting wife, though upset with the manner of events, still loves Jack and so sets off with but the clothes on her back to find her husband. Across the snow, ice, dangers of counterrevolution, and beyond Louise’s efforts are a testament to the power of dedication.

Totaling in all over three hours long this piece of cinema is a commitment. Overcoming this small time hurdle however is easy due to the wonderful acting, positive portrayal of controversial figures, and excellent direction and musical score. In truth I found very little wrong with the movie and so it is not a lie to say that Reds is one of my favored historical romance films of all time. If you should find yourself confronted with whether to watch it or not do not hesitate: watch it and enjoy.

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