Sep 13, 2007

Brief thoughts on watching

1. In the genre of "Americans Abroad," we have turned the "innocent" into "sweetly retarded," played by Forest Gump, and understood "abroad" to mean influencing the events of history. This has been pointed out before. We see ourselves as well meaning, and as doing good, even if we are fundamentally ignorant of world events and have no clear idea of what we've done in the past, how we got here or who we are. This is what makes the twist ending of the Jason Bourne triology so fascinating. The amnesiac who has been fighting bad guys for three movies, who, as the symbolic, stand-in American, has been fighting the evil, secret-assassin-making-machine that created him, discovers that he, of his own free will, chose this. The "people who did this to you," Jason/America, is you. You weren't Bo(u)rn(e) this way. (Wha, wah).

2. Though Westerns are always about violence, the difference/similarty between Good and Evil, the preservation of peace and the possibility of redemption, 3:10 to Yuma is interesting because the bad guy gets redeemed. It's the bad guy who is religious, and not in the "this-makes-it-extra-creepy" way, but in a way that seems to indicate he takes the book seriously, even if he doesn't know why it's called good. The film is also peculiar in that redemption is linked to confession and admissions of failure, inadequecy, etc., rather than being linked to doing the right thing. In a very "total depravity" mode, the hero says that he can't do the right thing, the manly thing, and has never done the right thing. Die, John Wayne, die. This really is sort of the inverse of High Noon's domino theory and justificaiton for the American-led Iraq war.

3. There's something forehead-slappingly obvious about Dexter, bringing the law enforcer/law violater into a single person. It's brilliant, but more so because it's obvious, both from a psychological stand point - don't the id and the super-ego coexist? - and from the stand point of plot, as per Poe's letter. Add in the over inflated interest in serial killers and scientific ways of solving crime, and you think that Dexter had to exist.