The true story of American journalist John Reed, a determined radical
who joined the Communist revolution in Russia in the late 1910's.
Directed by Warren Beatty
Written by Warren Beatty and Trevor Griffiths
Starring Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Maureen Stapleton, Edward Herrmann, Jerzy Kosinski, Paul Sorvino
Oscar Wins - Best Supporting Actress (Maureen Stapleton),
Best Director, Best Cinematography
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (Warren Beatty),
Best Actress (Diane Keaton), Best Supporting Actor
(Jack Nicholson), Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction,
Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Film Editing
I never thought I would've enjoyed a nearly three and a half hour long film about communism in the early 20th century, but somehow here we are. Warren Beatty is a filmmaker I'm just beginning to tap into, and already I understand his reverence in the film community. Reds is a powerful drama about one man's fight to stand for something that matters. More so, John Reed sought to defend the voice of the people, a group that is so often forgotten during times of revolution. In return, he was exiled from the United States and had to constantly prove himself in Russia. This is his larger than life story.
Beatty writes, directs, and stars as John "Jack" Reed, successfully wearing many hats on this film's production. He excels as Reed, and has terrific chemistry with Diane Keaton, who plays Reed's wife and fellow revolutionary Louise Bryant. While their relationship was rocky as hell and constantly falling apart, the message they sought to bring to their home country was strong. It's always great to see Jack Nicholson chew the scenery, and he certainly does as playwright Eugene O'Neill, though I wish he'd been in the film more. Overall, it's a solid cast and an engaging story.
The version of the film I watched was split into two discs, with the first part ending around the halfway point, near the end of John and Louise's first time in Russia. With that divider in mind, I think the first half of the film is better. The second half is good, but (as is so often the case with three hour movies) a lot could've been cut out and moved around. Still, for as long and serious as it was, Reds brought a lot to the table and kept my interest the whole time.