Film Review: Red FlagSelf-skewering comedy makes indie road film a dark trip.
Desperately seeking others' company at a moment when he should be trying to find himself, a young filmmaker analyzes his recent breakup during a promotional tour in Alex Karpovsky's Red Flag. Drily funny but never seeking the audience's sympathy, the shoestring production will engage those who know the director from Lena Dunham’s “Girls” and his roles in indie films by Andrew Bujalski and others, but isn't likely to expand his fan base beyond that world.
The filmmaker at the heart of the story happens to be named Alex Karpovsky, on tour to promote a film, Woodpecker, that the real-world Karpovsky made in 2008. Here's hoping the rest of this narrative doesn't parallel actual events quite that closely: Karpovsky, having just broken up with longtime girlfriend Rachel (Caroline White) due to his unwillingness to commit, tries to find a friend to keep him company on the road but is rebuffed by everyone. Seemingly, Alex is too self-absorbed to have made the kind of friends who would come to his rescue in this scenario.
One friend changes his mind partway through the tour—an illustrator named Henry (Onur Tukel) flies out to meet him—but it isn't soon enough to keep Alex from an ill-advised hookup one night with star-struck fan River (Jennifer Prediger), who shows up uninvited at the next tour stop hoping for more than a one-night-stand.
The film finds its itchy comic tension when Henry takes a shine to the spurned River and invites her along, making Alex a third wheel on his own tour. Karpovsky the director isn't unduly generous to Karpovsky the semi-fictional man: Though there's some hint (in an Emily Dickinson allusion that will cue some viewers to recall a certain Woody Allen book) that the film hopes his neurotic rants will play like vintage Woody, the film's too honest to push us into loving this self-involved and sometimes self-deluded character. At its most generous, the best Red Flag will do for him is give him an undeserved hug.
—The Hollywood Reporter