Red Rocket

 (681)
7.22 h 10 min2021UHDR
Mikey Saber (a magnetic Simon Rex) — charismatic con man and washed up porn star — plots his return to the big time from small-town Texas in this wild, fiercely funny portrait of an American hustler and a hometown that barely tolerates him.
Directors
Sean Baker
Starring
Simon RexSuzanna SonBree Elrod
Genres
ComedyDramaArthouse
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Brenda DeissEthan DarboneBrittney RodriguezJudy Hill
Producers
Sean BakerGlen BasnerBen BrowningAlex CocoAlison CohenMilan PopelkaSamantha QuanAlex SaksJackie ShenooShih-Ching Tsou
Studio
A24
Rating
R (Restricted)
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

681 global ratings

  1. 51% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 20% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 13% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 5% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 12% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Joey HirschReviewed in the United States on February 13, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Man-Child Satyr sows Discord (and Seed) in the Texas Oilfields
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Near the beginning of "Red Rocket," we see a man, handsome but skittish, walking up to a once-pastel clapboard house. In the background, oil refineries spout flames, turning the leaves of all the surrounding palm trees a sickly yellow. What could possibly possess a man to seek this place out?
Turns out the man, Mikey Davies, is trying to patch things up with his ex-girlfriend, Lexi, who also just happens to be his wife. The relationship status of “It’s complicated” on social media sites doesn’t quite cover what’s going on here.
But Mikey doesn’t have a choice except to give it another go with his girl. Not that he’s missed her. He just needs a place to crash after striking out in L.A., where he rose to fame as a porn star. Lexi and her mother, a tough but not entirely heartless woman with sandpapery skin and a heroin habit, agree to take Mikey in if he agrees to pay rent.
Mikey wastes no time in beating his feet, filling out applications wherever he can, at restaurants, shoddy little convenience stores, and so on. But he has massive gaps in his employment record that can’t be explained without him revealing his former identity.
Things look bleak for Mikey, until he runs into an old acquaintance who’s a weed dealer and agrees to put him on. His start is inauspicious, peddling an ounce of dirt weed to kids at a park skateboarding on a halfpipe. But it’s something, and Mikey and Lexi are starting to reconcile (or at least have sex again).
We’re pulling for Mikey, who, despite being a bs artist prone to embellishing the truth, seems to be good at heart. And he has a couple other things going for him, like his rugged good looks, the gift of gab, and a stunning set of glassy grey-green eyes. He also has an endowment that’s a bit of a gift-curse. He drives women crazy sexually, but doesn’t always drive them crazy in a good way. And we get the sense that his placing such emphasis on his sexual prowess is keeping him from ever growing up or being a real man.
Like real-life porn star Ron Jeremy, Mikey wants the world to think his having sex onscreen makes him a free spirit, and an artist. But when he brags to people it seems like he’s trying to convince himself more than them. He’s aware that his gift is God-given, rather than a talent of which he should be proud (no matter how many AVN awards he racks up).
One day, after offloading his herb, Mikey rides his bike to the donut store. He’s not looking for trouble but he finds it. There he meets a freckle-faced girl named Strawberry with doe eyes and a seeming innocence that might be masking something else. Things take a turn toward the Lolita-esque (though it’s technically not statutory rape, according to Texas law), and Mikey finds that the tables have finally turned. Rather than him just driving the girls crazy, he and Strawberry are bringing each other to a place of dangerous sexual intensity. It’s that mad love that can get people hurt, both figuratively and literally.
“Red Rocket,” is a well-directed, skillfully written movie that takes a meandering path to get where it’s going. The actors (both professional and nonprofessional) are encouraged to breathe and explore their characters. Sense of place is as important as plot. The already-mentioned Texas oilfields are a character in their own right. The smoldering industrial backdrop is shown as a kind of flaming hellscape that, like the relationship between Mikey and Strawberry, rages with an all-consuming, poisonous fire.
Everything in the small Texas town that isn’t part of the oil industry is decrepit, crumbling, and neglected, including (sadly) the people. Like Killing Them Softly, the movie interleaves a lot of diegetic background noise of politicians blathering on TV. Only this time it’s Hillary “Hilligula” Clinton, and Donald “the Golden Golem of Greatness” (hat-tip James Kunstler) making all the sound and fury and signifying nothing.
We don’t get the sense that the movie has a political message, or intends to cudgel us over the head with another allegory. It’s hard to say exactly why Trump and Hillary appear, except, that like everything else in the movie, it feels both real and necessary.
When people talk about “Red Rocket,” whether they like it or not, the first thing they’re likely to mention is Simon Rex’s performance. Rex, who has worked both in the adult film industry and in Hollywood, understands the entertainment world inside-out. He understands that the people seeking validation are both narcissistic and insecure, hungry for love and attention and asking for it in the only way they know how: by pretending. It helps him bring nuance to his depiction of a man who is not quite just the sum of his appetites—a man who is, at times, genuinely trying—but simply cannot grow up.
That said, I don’t want to make the same mistake everyone makes with Raging Bull, and mention the male lead and leave out Suzanna Son as Strawberry. She brings quite a bit to the table, showing how hard, perhaps impossible, it is for a young woman to hold on to her girlhood in such a hypersexualized world. Like most young girls, she’s already fascinated by men and somewhat bored with boys. And Mikey (like far too many men) is only too willing to use a very unequal playing field to his advantage.
It would be very easy to condemn him, to write him off at times as a fool, at others as a soulless sociopath; that sounds harsh, but when it becomes clear he might be grooming Strawberry, the impulse to hate him is hard to deny. But the movie does a good job of not judging him, instead giving Mikey the chance to damn or save himself with every scene. That I found myself unable to judge what he does (even when it’s objectively wrong or morally sleazy) is a testament to the work everyone put into this film.
“Red Rocket,” shows genuine human behavior in an honest way, and it also makes you laugh at the funny moments and flinch when things get dicey. Like everything else I’ve seen from A24 (Uncut Gems, Hereditary), it was great. Highest recommendation.
17 people found this helpful
David J. W.Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
A hilarious comedy that parallels politics
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A washed up, beat up, deadbeat narcissistic ex-porn star shows up in Texas City on his estranged wife's doorstep and interrupts everyone's life with disastrous results. Mikey (Simon Rex) only cares about himself, even when his own actions lead others to ruination. Convinced he's found the next "it" porn star in a donut shop employee named Strawberry (Suzanna Son), he sets about trying to convince her to go with him to LA and embark on a career shooting porno, despite her talents as a musician and clear reluctance to choose that lifestyle.

Played over the backdrop of the 2016 election, we hear Trump's voice ranting about potential rigged elections. The parallels with real life are clear, as Mikey whines about the consequences of his actions before he's run out of town as a pariah.

The film is laugh out loud funny, beautifully shot, and brilliantly layered.
9 people found this helpful
SharonReviewed in the United States on March 12, 2022
1.0 out of 5 stars
Not a comedy
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Movie description said this was a comedy- Personally I did not see anything funny at all about it. Unless you think loser men who treat women badly is funny
10 people found this helpful
Frank ArnoldReviewed in the United States on March 9, 2022
1.0 out of 5 stars
stomach turning poverty porn
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a predatory pedophile grooms a child for the sex industry. also includes one dimensional caricatures of poor rural whites for good measure.
11 people found this helpful
Robert HayesReviewed in the United States on March 28, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wow, what a ride!
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I think the only thing I'd seen Simon Rex in prior to this was a godawful National Lampoon movie with Paris Hilton. Come to find out he's actually pretty talented given some good material. This is a plot you've seen dozens of times before, but for whatever reason things hit harder and feel a little more real when you focus on Middle America types. The stakes are a bit smaller, and the end result is more soul-crushing. I noticed some DNA/influence from other films like Shampoo and A Star Is Born, which aren't terrible influences to have. It's the first movie in a while where I didn't feel distracted because I was riveted by what I was watching, hoping it would turn out different even though that's never how this script plays out. One of the best things I've seen this year so far.
2 people found this helpful
KEITHReviewed in the United States on February 26, 2022
2.0 out of 5 stars
Lack Of Interplay Inhibits Any Drama
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Mikey Saber has come to Texas to see his ex-wife Lexi. Straight off, there isn't much to spurn our imaginations about these characters. The movie "Red Rocket" is focused on the character of Mikey Saber(played by Simon Rex). Mikey is energetic but, he has a narrow interest in himself. The movie doesn't make this trait a part of the tale itself, and as a result, the other people around Mikey serve to either prove the things that Mikey states, or to end up being on the end of some snubbery or abuse.
The cinematics involve a sprawling orientation of flat land in different sun settings. This is Texas and even in the thicket of buildings one can see for miles around. Perfect spring green lawns and telephone towers are spied in narrowing lanes. This is the setting now common to many rural dramas. An outback town that is below economic standards. There are parks, there are homeless. The tenants watch courtroom tv or day time talk shows. When Mikey confronts Lexi, his ex, she wants him off of her property. Mikey further imbibes this sustained grittiness by emphasizing the trouble he has had in the past-"...close to getting shot".
Mikey isn't a criminal. He is a porn star in blood. He has a specific philosophy about what he wants out of life and that's absorbing because we follow Mikey and appreciate his situation and the outlook he has. The 'anti-drama', the element intruding into the dream is 'Strawberry', or Raylee (played by Suzanna Son) who enters into Mikey's life. She's profligate. Not in a dumb way, but she has casual preferences about pleasure and how to recieve it. Raylee is beautiful, in a liberal Texas image -strawberry lips, freckles, lovely pale round face.
Mikey and Strawberry meet at the doughnut shop. Mikey keeps at making rounds, eyeballing Strawberry. Eventually, they discover each others passions, and Mikey thinks that Strawberry is a talented young woman, a dart, a burgeoning flame for the camera,for those who are as sensual as these two. Before I go on, Mikey also tells Nash, Strawberry's young boyfriend, not to see her anymore. In the following scene, Nash and his parents arrive at the donut shop and confront Raylee, or Strawberry. They end by beating up Mikey.
The more Mikey is 'criticisized' the prettier Strawberry becomes. We learn enticing tidbits of information about the'biz', but one also knows that Mikey doesn't have any aspirations for the future other than making Strawberry his partner. When Lexi starts complaining about Mikey Saber in a furtive way, Mikey comes back and rebukes her with a good point, the money needed for rent, or a piece of advice she needs to hear. Mikey and Strawberry are going to Strawberry's parents home-alone-for some fun. Mikey is enthralled about discovering a natural porn actress-a star, "She's...this is like a Jenna Jameson....Sasha Grey level find." The viewer doesn't witness an unfolding drama, nothing is going beyond Mikey's perspective.
"Boogie Nights", a film about the pornography industry, not just the struggles of one man, had a vision. "Red Rocket" is joined to the perceptions of a single person, who, in many ways is arrogant and locked on his physiologic quotas. Towards the end of the movie , the zone is mired with a little skepticism. A sequence which seeks to illuminate "Red Rocket", but there is no devolving aura of feelings or moods. These are just whimsical actions, done well, but Mikey has to resolve the film for us.
One person found this helpful
Big Bad JohnReviewed in the United States on May 31, 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Raunchy and Wonderful
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On the good side, a sympathetic portrait of small-town Texas life. The sets are gorgeously dilapidated and the main characters woefully uneducated. You can smell the rot! If you want to know why some Americans don't give a darn, this film will lift the blinders from your eyes for real. The acting, writing, directing, etc, are also first-rate.

On the other side, how do you feel about full-frontal nudity, sex with an under-aged girl, and a mouthful of nasty language? If you can handle the raunchiness, you'll love this film. I found it disturbing because it effectively illuminated my darkest instincts.
One person found this helpful
Charlene B. CroweReviewed in the United States on June 7, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Actually a very entertaining flick.
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Surprisingly funny and serious at the same time. The predator and the innocent. Always looking for that next big ticket to make your fortune on. Not tht he truly cares. He doesn’t care who is destroyed as long as he gets what he wants. The narcissistic guy tht always uses people, never grows up, never assumes responsibility, always broke, and is losing his charm. But he can spot a victim everywhere he goes. Adults see him for what he is, and steer clear. Young impressionable minds are vulnerable to him and he’s uses tht to his advantage. Enter the dreamer. Another life destroyed.
One person found this helpful
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