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Riddle Of Fire

Event Recap: Riddle of Fire

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Throughout the month of March and into the first week of April, The Frida Cinema hosted screenings of award-winning American writer and director Weston Razooli’s 2023 debut film, Riddle of Fire. The film is a comedy and adventure film that debuted at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Festival as well as the Toronto International Film Festival. Many moviegoers came filing into The Frida on a busy weekday after beating the afternoon traffic and arriving in time to attend the showing. Razooli made a brief onscreen appearance during the first few minutes of the film since he was unable to do a Q&A at the theater and held a prop from the movie while donning a cowboy hat.

Riddle of Fire is a story that involves a trio of children named Alice (Phoebe Ferro), Hazel (Charlie Stover), and Jodie (Skyler Peters). They live in the fictional, small rural town known as Ribbon and cause chaos like stealing a game console from a warehouse. Hazel and Jodie’s mother creates a password for the television, which means that the children are unable to play the game. Their mother is bedbound due to feeling ill and is reluctant to allow the children to have any screen time since they have a dirt bike race in a few days. The children beg the mother until she caves and finally agrees to let them play video games but only under the condition that they buy her a blueberry pie to help her feel better.

The kids are on a scavenger hunt for a pie recipe and ingredients to make the pastry since the local bakery does not have any blueberry pies. Eventually, they come toe to toe with a huntsman named Johnny Redrye (Charles Halford), who snatches one of the last key ingredients that they need. The three soon learn that Johnny is not the only character that they need to worry about and end up going on an unexpected woodland adventure to Faery Castle Mountain. They also make an unexpected magical friend who helps them on their mission of getting the last ingredient.

Riddle Of Fire Frida CinemaThe film’s adventure and limitless foliage is something straight out of a fairytale. The theater was full of laughter, especially when characters got pelted with paintballs and cussed each other out. Riddle of Fire is a wholesome odyssey that involves themes of friendship and the message that we can find a sense of familial connections with the friends we make. The film does not disappoint, and it will keep moviegoers engaged from start to finish. There is nothing more satisfying than watching a ragtag gang of misfits speeding off around town on their dirt bikes as they aim for glass bottles with their trusty paintball guns in tow.

Riddle of Fire is The Goonies meets Stand by Me with its plot that involves the exploration of nature with a group of friends. Razooli’s project is a fun and retro movie that will make you feel like you are in a different era. This story may remind you of the simpler times you may have experienced with the childhood friends in your life. It will keep you engaged and in awe as you watch the characters make their eventful trek in the Wyoming woods. The unique storyline is not what I had expected and sets itself apart from most films I have watched

In its entirety, Razooli’s debut film is the kind of film that makes you want to get lost in the woods with friends (minus the bad guys, of course). An overwhelming majority of the audience members remained in the theater to watch the rolling credits until the very end, which I believe is a mark of a successful film. The moviegoers mostly consisted of adults, along with parents and their children, who may have been on spring break. I also believe that including modern technology like a smartphone, smart TV, and laptop in the movie might have slightly taken away from Riddle of Fire in terms of having a completely vintage ambiance. However, I still enjoyed the film, and it gave me nostalgia of skipping rocks across rivers in the wetlands as a kid.


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