Bellflower asks us to consider many important questions, such as: What happens when love goes astray? Relationships matter most in life, so how do you balance them properly? And what kind of person spends all their time preparing for the impending apocalypse by building a flamethrower and roaring through the streets in a fire-breathing car? Bellflower! Bellflower is the best! OK, maybe that’s a bit too much hyperbole. Bellflower is pretty good; it’s almost great, in fact. It was an official selection of both Sundance and SXSW, and sure, you haven’t heard of it yet, but this little gem of a film is a love story with apocalyptic stakes.
1. Flamethrower and Awesome Muscle Car
The main pursuit of the men in the movie is in building Mad Max-style tools to aid them in surviving the apocalypse, should it occur. They build a functioning flamethrower (and they really built one and really used it!) as well as the Medusa, a muscle car that shoots flames like 10 feet into the air.
2. Independent Filmmaking!
The entire film was made by a small group of friends for $17,000, and shot and edited over the course of about three years. They worked all on their own time, without permits or permission, mainly shooting the film in Ventura, California. They did absolutely everything themselves, from building the flamethrowers and muscle car to the actual cameras they shot on.
3. Hot Dudes
Not to get vulgar, but these are some of the best-looking dudes I’ve seen in an independent film in a while. Tyler Dawson especially sums up the Platonic ideal of a good-looking guy, tall and lanky with a killer smile and gorgeous features. And this is a weird thing too, but both he and Evan Glodell have really unique voices. Given that this is the first feature for both of them, I look forward to seeing them more in the future.
4. Gorgeous Cinematography
The filmmakers specially built at least three cameras to shoot Bellflower on, allowing them complete control of the image, and it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before, with amazing colors and amazing in-camera perspective tricks such as tilt-shifting, which allows for one tiny part of the image to remain in focus while the rest is not. Cinematographer Joel Hodge is a genius; working together with director Evan Glodell, he has produced images that hover somewhere between overly processed '70s photographs and the slow burn of modern cityscapes.
5. Amazing Score
The music by Jonathan Keevil is absolutely pitch-perfect for the film, all haunting nostalgia and husky vocals. All the music for the film is in the same vein, which provides the perfect backdrop for the amazing images and story to work alongside.
6. Incredible Script
The script by director and actor and creative genius Evan Glodell is funny, thoughtful, and absolutely encapsulates the way people talk to each other. So often scripts can feel stunted or awkward, but Glodell had the advantage of working with friends, and the interactions feel genuine and earned. The story deals with two people falling in love and the epic consequences that can have on your mind and heart.
7. There's Nothing Else Like It
There really isn’t. While the film may draw comparisons to a twisted version of 500 Days of Summer, it’s really the product of a group of people watching Mad Max over and over and looking at it through modern eyes. Yes, it’s incredibly violent at times, gruesome and hard to watch, but it’s also fantastic. The violence is mostly warranted, and I’d even go so far as to call it a modern American Psycho at times. The film seems to exist outside a world with rules, outside a world where people have to have jobs. The characters drink, sleep, screw, and fight, and are figuring things out as they go along.