Patrick Roddy's "Red 71," which begins its run at the Pioneer Theater on Friday, is a whodunit with Lynchian aspirations. The film revolves around the mysterious death of Charley (Ted Parks), owner of the nightclub Red 71. Among the suspects are his wife Lorain (Michelle Belegrin), his mistress (Hilary Gayle), her boyfriend Del (Justin Kreinbrink), and the club's patron saint Shane (Nathan Ginn), who has an unrequited love for Lorain.
"Red 71" overuses the dramatic lighting and extreme low-angle shots that have been staples of David Lynch's work, but used here, the technique doesn't quite achieve the same eerie effect. Mr. Roddy definitely has an idea of what he's after, but his paint-by-numbers direction cannot make up for Ken Henderson's severely underdeveloped script and the uniformly wooden acting more appropriate for regional dinner theater or adult videos. "Red 71" is barely more than an hour long, and yet there's so much dead air that it often feels three times that length. The film has to introduce all the characters with title cards, because the absence of any real backstory renders them forgettable. Mr. Ginn's sumo wrestler-like physical presence is interesting, particularly for a film noir, but his robotic delivery of the dialogue ultimately proves that this casting choice isn't exactly a stroke of genius either. "Red 71" so pales in comparison to Mr. Lynch's "Twin Peaks" on every level, it probably deserves a fate worse than network television.