Friday, April 1, 2016

Film Pairings –– Of Terror And Immigrants

With blazing Republican primary election campaigns focusing on terrorism and immigration, it might be a good idea to see these subjects in perspective and to understand that this is more than a simple game of good guys and bad guys.

Milla Jovovich
Survivor is an entertaining, but formulaic thriller.  It is nonetheless a preferable substitute for most TV cop shows.  We watch as a savvy, sinister Wall Street investor sets up an attack in Times Square on New Years Eve that will appear to be a terrorist attack that will, in the end, net him billions. Milla Jovovich plays an agent responsible for checking suspicious visa applications, She discovers something is wrong with a few approvals. Though ordered to ignore the irregularities, she pursues answers. Unfortunately her investigation makes her a suspect.  Is she in cahoots  (yes, cahoots) with the terrorists?  Suddenly everyone is after her.

The fun here, for me, were two of the actors.

While Jovovich plays the lead deftly and realistically, I found myself drawn to the screen when the smart, sane and empathetic character played by Frances de la Tour appeared, Her calm, but heartfelt guidance to the troubled heroine was riveting. Pierce Brosnan was also magnetic. Though officially Irish, he was trained as an actor in London.  So let me reinforce the well-trained English actor stereotype: the older Brosnan gets, the better he is. He shows off his range here, providing a wonderfully subtle portrayal of pure evil. Dylan McDermott and Robert Forster also have significant roles. The film was directed by James McTeague and released last year. I don’t believe it made it to your local cinema.

Charlotte Rampling
Cleanskin, by far, is a more serious and more in-depth story of contemporary terrorism.   Less action, more nuanced plot, more to think about. We get glimpses into how the young are “radicalized.” We get schooled on the meaning of “collateral damage,” depending on our perspective. We are shown what stokes the hatred that leads to brutality. We are reminded that what we see and what we are told by the officials — let’s say our officials — may not be what is. Four years after its release in 2002, the film seems as it were made today. Little has changed, except for unbridled political rhetoric encouraging radicalization on both sides.  A secret agent, played by Sean Bean leads the first half of the us-and-them team, and Ahbin Galeya represents the “them,” (as seen from the West). Charlotte Rampling, one of my favorites, has a small but meaty role.  Hadi Hajaig directed this British production, and Ian Howes was responsible for the splendid cinematography. While we are talking movies here, truth is sometimes better conveyed by fiction. It would seem that a couple of our presidential nominees could expand their tiny minds simply by watching this film.

Both films have a London flavor.  If you’ve some driving to do after the double feature, perhaps a cup of tea will do the trick. Otherwise, why not a hearty ale?


Fran Johns said...

The problem is, I've never seen the films and your posts ALWAYS make me want to declare Movie Night and it still doesn't happen. But thanks for the vicarious pleasures. Hope all's grand down there out of the fog!

Ronald Tierney said...

The fog is now merely in my brain. I Brought that with me. The second film is definitely woth th time. But judging by all your activity, time is in short supply I suspect.