Dec 2, 2007

Lions for Lambs

I do understand there are a bunch of Hollywood actors who have to play in American- government-sponsored movies, fighting evil Arabs and Russians or other kind of weapon-dealers, drug lords and who knows what villains from outside the almighty Western world. However, I hadn’t realized up to now that this bunch includes people like Meryl Streep and Robert Redford!

I mean one of the creators of the independent film festival at Sundance to direct and play in this fucking propaganda film! Really, I almost felt like puking when hearing Tom Cruise's character for the tenth time explaining why the wars in the Middle East are so good and important for the American people, and how they are meant to wipe out the fear raised by September 11th – speech with violins in the background, of course.

And then the whole example of “bravery” – the poor Black and Hispanic students, who got to the university with so much effort, going to fight in Afghanistan while the white rich boys stay at home. Do they prove anything? Do they change anything? Doesn’t really look like it.

Finally, the few reasons why the two hours were not a complete waste of time are (i) the comparison between this war and the one in Vietnam (hadn't thought much about it, but makes sense), (ii) the scene where Meryl Streep's character explains how the network she works for used to deliver hard and quality news back then, but in the meantime was bought by some corporation known for selling light bulbs and turned into entertainment media. This is supported by the final scene, when the following “Breaking news” shows up on a TV screen: pop-star divorces from famous-rapper husband. While vague news from Afghanistan show up on the lowest part of the screen, on a thin little band.

And (iii) yes, this movie talks about how people are more and more dumbed down as entertainment TV gets bigger, and how less and less they participate in public life. But didn’t we already know this? Wasn't this discovered and analyzed by media researchers since the 1980s? Anyway, it's still good movies like this "dumb down" the whole concept for every idiot in the audience to understand.

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