The adult actor Mikey Davies, who was formerly well-known, returns to his hometown of Texas City in the comedy-drama Red Rocket. The movie centres on Davies’ desperate attempts to regain his financial stability. The movie introduces a variety of personalities that live in the neighbourhood and, at times, seems to subtly draw attention towards the socio-economic conditions of these people as part of Mikey’s slow slide as he tries to buy people’s faith with arrogant lies. Such instances, though, are uncommon, and Red Rocket is nearly worth watching because of its experimental filmmaking and strange plot.
Red Rocket Plot Summary: The Hero s Return
The movie starts with Mikey taking a long bus ride back to Texas City, where he leaves his wife Lexi and her mother Lil and returns at least ten years later to knock on their door. He begs his estranged wife to let him stay at their home for a few days despite being obviously bruised and having wounds on his face and arms. Although though Lexi and Lil are adamantly opposed to letting him inside the house, the $20 that Mikey brought with him causes them to change their minds. Mikey explains why he had to leave Los Angeles so soon after taking a shower and shaving, but the mother and daughter are obviously not convinced due to Mikey’s reputation. He pledges to help out with chores and to swiftly find employment so he can stay and pay the rent. He walks around the town looking for part-time jobs, but every employer rejects him because of his prior experience as an adult performer. Ultimately, he goes to meet Leondria, a well-known marijuana dealer in the area, and begins working for her as a drug peddler. Street-smart and slick-talking Mikey makes friends with his young neighbour Lonnie and gets him to drive him about; he then uses this as an excuse to leave town and sell the drugs at a strip club. When Mikey and Lexi departed Texas City seventeen years ago to pursue a career in the adult video industry, their dialogue suggests that they were well-known adult film actors. But as things began to unravel, Lexi split from him, wed someone else, and then returned to her hometown to live with her mother. Mikey brags to the credulous Lonnie about appearing in several adult videos with numerous well-known actors in the industry and even winning three AVN awards, which he claims are equivalent to the Academy Awards in the adult video industry.
As Lil has a fit because Mikey isn’t doing the dishes, Mikey suddenly comes out and waves a stack of cash in their faces that is equal to the full month’s rent. This rapidly changes the mother-conduct daughter’s towards him. Meanwhile, Mikey begins making money by selling narcotics. They now go out to celebrate at a nearby doughnut shop after he established himself as the only source of income in the home. Mikey notices the young, handsome waiter at this doughnut store, and his eyes light up as he begins to consider a potential return to Los Angeles, to fame and fortune.
What Exactly Is Mikey s Plan For The Future?
The very next evening, Mikey returns to the doughnut store by himself to get to know the girl better, but he discovers another customer at the counter. He makes several tries before he succeeds in meeting her and introduces himself as a well-known entertainment professional from Las Vegas who has returned to take care of his sick mother. High school student Raylee, also known as Strawberry by her classmates, is currently seventeen years old and will turn eighteen in three weeks. Mikey tries to get close to her using humour and his slick talking skills and is successful because he is enamoured by her beauty and charisma. Strawberry soon assists him in increasing his income by selling marijuana to the visiting construction workers at the donut store.
In the meantime, he begins having regular bedtimes with Lexi, who has become friendlier and more accepting of him as a result of the income he is bringing into the home. Nate, Strawberry’s high school boyfriend, assists her in breaking up with him because he wants to use Strawberry as the star of adult videos to reclaim his place in the business and in LA. They quickly develop a close bond and go on dates, during which Strawberry informs him that she is aware of his identity and that she is not bothered by his line of work. She does, however, make it clear that she does not want to be involved in adult films since she does not want to have an unpleasant existence when Mikey attempts to drop clues in her direction. However, when she extends an invitation for him to spend the night at her home (since her mother won’t be in town), Mikey convinces her to record their prison performances solely for their own amusement. He then compliments Strawberry for her ostensibly natural talents that would be ideal in show business. The young girl is now more open to the idea, but she expresses that she wants to work exclusively with Mikey and that he should do the same. Nevertheless, at the last end, he is able to persuade Strawberry to flee with him to Los Angeles, where they would work as performers in adult videos to support themselves.
The persona of Mikey is that of a con artist with the charm to charm people into accepting his beliefs. He only manages to secure a place to live after returning to Texas City through persuasion (and occasionally financial assistance). Ultimately, it is never made clear if he is truly charmed by Strawberry, a young girl who is not even an adult yet, or whether he simply sees her as another ace card that he can use to return to his previous life, and the movie prefers to keep it that way. The situation is the same on the opposite side, since it is uncertain if Strawberry is smitten with the older man or whether she is merely trying to use him as a means of escaping the little town. She may be comparable to Lexi, whom Mikey previously loved (or seemed to love), and who he later used to establish himself in the adult film industry.
Red Rocket Ending Explained: Does Mikey Get To Run Away With Strawberry?
Mikey does not want to leave Lexi and Lil’s lives as abruptly as he has entered them, despite the fact that he is far from the ideal man. The night before departing with Strawberry, Mikey informs Lexi of his impending departure and expresses his gratitude to her and her mother for allowing him remain with them for a month at a time when he most needed it. Lexi, however, is not pleased to hear about it, perhaps as a result of the reduction in revenue that Mikey would have brought in had he stayed. The following evening, while Mikey is sound asleep, Leondria’s daughter June and her goons arrive to take all the money he had gained from selling marijuana. Mikey’s intended departure was announced to them over the phone by Lexi through Lil. Unclothed Mikey manages to escape them and flee to Leondria’s house, where he is able to get just 200 of the three thousand money he had earned for himself. Also, he is compelled to leave Lil’s house that night, and he walks till dawn. He is then seen making his way up to Strawberry’s house, where he spots her dancing in a red bikini in the entryway. When Mikey smiles, the picture turns to dark and the titles start to roll as the camera zooms in very closely on his face as tears stream down his cheeks.
Although it isn’t explicitly stated in the movie, it is feasible to imagine instances where Mikey gets away with Strawberries. Certainly a product of his mind, he sees Strawberry wearing a red bikini in that scene. It is shot in a way that is typical of adult films of the genre, with dreamy aesthetics and lively soundtrack. That is Mikey’s dream, and it may be what he imagines before knocking on Strawberry’s door. Mikey’s dream is to have Strawberry act in these movies. Another possibility is that he decided to cut Strawberry out of his chaotic life after last night’s humiliation, which is why he has tears in his eyes. In either case, Mikey’s departure from Texas City is a given, as is his survival, of course, as he is a street-smart con guy who moves from one predicament to another while managing to survive. The movie merely depicts one instance in his (mis)adventurous existence; possibly something similar occurred to him in Los Angeles, and perhaps something similar will occur wherever he moves to next.
Red Rocket was cleverly and entirely captured on 16mm film with pixelated colour pictures. The story also makes an attempt to make sociopolitical allusions; for example, as Mikey rolls joints in sheets decorated with the colours of the American flag, he is observing Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Yet, there aren’t nearly enough of these types of sequences in the movie, which is primarily about conman Mikey’s attempts to resume or perhaps even begin his life of luxury.
Sean Baker is the director of the 2021 drama comedy Red Rocket.