12 December 2007

80. witness




here are some reasons this movie was such a hit and is considered so well-made:

* it concerns a theme mostly unexplored in other thrillers or action movies: the use of force. when is it justified to harm someone else? is killing always wrong? how do you separate the "good guys" from the "bad guys"?

* it envelopes us in a world at once foreign and familiar. we think we know about the amish, but this film immerses us into the particulars of this way of life, and never treats its subjects with condescension, showing their quiet grace, community, and unique sense of humor.

* it presents an action/thriller genre story, but does it with an eye towards the characters and their psychology, not just as an excuse for action set-pieces. in other words, it is a movie made for adults, not teenagers mindlessly munching on popcorn.

all that said, i didn't much care. i wasn't fully engaged with the movie, mostly because i found the music distracting (a very 80's-style synth score that i thought was much too cheesy), i found the villians too one-dimensional and cliched, and the love story mostly unearned. most glaringly wrong, however, is that the movie is about the tension between pacifism and force, but abandons this theme near the end for a shootout. and that, to me, is a microcosm of what is often wrong with mainstream hollywood films.

2 Comments:

Blogger mr. merritt said...

but just before the shoot-out, it really does build up... and how can you go wrong with danny glover getting a shot gun blast to the torso... grain elevator.......

1:05 PM  
Blogger ayatollah assahola said...

I feel the exact same way about this movie.

4:52 PM  

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