When it comes to crime, it’s often best to keep it in the family. From the Italian mafiosi to Japanese Yakuza, organised crime often involves a complex hierarchy of familial relationships. Trust is obviously of paramount importance and blood is, as they say, thicker than water. This also means that anyone born into this illegality is usually destined to join the ‘family business’. In Ida Red, these ties drive a man to take increasingly reckless decisions.
Ida ‘Red’ Walker (Melissa Leo) is a crime boss who, despite being behind bars, still exerts her influence over Tulsa, Oklahoma. She does this through her son Wyatt (Josh Hartnett) and her brother Dallas (Frank Grillo). After they pull off one last job, Wyatt’s brother-in-law Bodie (George Carroll), who is a law officer, becomes suspicious. He faces a race against time to outsmart the FBI and secure his mom’s release on parole.
Ida Red is a stylish and slick tale of crime and retribution. Styled on the likes of Animal Kingdom, the most interesting elements centre in on the family dynamics. Especially Wyatt’s interactions with his mother and niece, played by Sofia Hublitz. As the film progresses, John Swab’s film gets increasingly bogged down in a plot which becomes more and more convoluted and confusing. Which is a shame really as Ida Red shows a lot of promise.
Ida Red is released in US theatres, on digital and on demand on 5 November.