The Hurt Locker, dir. Katheryn Bigelow (2009)
The Hurt Locker opens with a quotation from a book by the journalist Chris Hedges called War is a Force that Gives us Meaning. “The rush of battle,” Hedges writes, “is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug.” (more…)
The Men Who Stare at Goats, dir. Grant Heslov (2009)
The opening credits of The Men Who Stare at Goats roll beside footage of the War in Iraq set to an infectious pop song. The film never really gets beyond this sequence, which encapsulates the film perfectly: what seems sketched out to be political content—pixilated war footage, pop music—comes out as stifled, unfunny, and vacuous. It becomes apparent that the film is attempting to pull the wool over our eyes. But to what? (more…)
by Adam Hirsch
[The following essay began as a review of three movies that came out this past weekend: Julie & Julia, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and (500) Days of Summer. However, in the middle of watching them, it began spiraling into something much larger. It's in three installments, one for each film. -- AH]
I left off in the last installment by arguing for the existence of a grey area within imitation of an objective art wherein the actual form and procedure of imitation makes everything jell. By “grey area,” I mean to say the subjective portion of the imitative capacity in the work that differs from person to person and action to action. The imitation, when completed in this correct form, becomes new in some way.
“Facts can be so misleading,” says the S.S. colonel Hans Landa, played by Christoph Waltz as a truly devilish take on Claude Rains, towards the beginning of Quentin Tarantino’s new film. He prefers to stick to rumors, in a sense, to dreams: the collective dreams and whispers that form rumor, eventually codified into some kind of historical record, to be proven or proved apocryphal. By the end of the film, as the colonel discusses the terms of his heroic surrender over the radio, he makes sure to emphasize that when the history of Operation Kino is written, he will be recorded to have been a crucial member from the beginning (Operation Kino is the name given to a successful plot to kill the German high command). Before Tarantino, Ronald Reagan was the last person to exhibit such a preference for the Hollywood version of history.