Archives for posts with tag: Republicans

Prodigy

The popular creepy kid genre can be traced all the way back to The Bad Seed (1956), but really took off in the years that witnessed the introduction of the birth control pill and the legalization of abortion in conjunction with overpopulation propaganda, with Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Exorcist (1973), It’s Alive (1974), The Stranger Within (1974), Devil Times Five (1974), I Don’t Want to Be Born (1975), The Omen (1976), and The Brood (1979) being notable examples. The purpose of such movies, when it is not simply to make a quick, exploitative buck, has frequently been to instill in deracinated women associations of anxiety and disgust with their own biological imperative, and The Prodigy (2019) is an especially noteworthy development of this tradition. I found it to be genuinely scary – even as I smirked inwardly at its gross subtextual purpose.

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Prodigy is:

3./4. Anti-gun and pro-choice in one fell swoop. You have to watch out for those meddlesome old white men with their guns trying to save children from being murdered by their mothers. BELIEVE WOMEN when they determine that their sons deserve to die.

2. Antinatalist. The Prodigy might as well have been titled Abort the Alt-Right: The Movie.

1.Anti-white. New parents John (Peter Mooney) and Sarah (Taylor Schilling) – who have the surname Blume but do not appear to be Jewish – seem to have the perfect suburban life until their unhealthily pale son Miles (Jackson Robert Scott) starts to manifest precocious intelligence while lagging behind in emotional development and social skills. He also has different-colored eyes like Nazi LARPer David Bowie, who is name-dropped in the screenplay. These are the film’s first clues that what devil-child Miles really represents are Jewish and globalist anxieties about the remaining potential for a resurgence of nationalism and fascism among peskily still-reproducing white people. One of the semi-autistic child’s first demonstrations of intolerance is when as a schoolboy he becomes jealous at the sight of a Mexican-looking boy working on a project with a white girl. Miles wants to be paired with the girl instead and attacks the other boy in deplorably savage fashion with a wrench. A not-so-insignificant establishing shot shows him attending Buchanan Elementary School – because everybody knows the antisocial influence that Patrick J.’s tutelage exercises over the kids these days.

A Jewish parapsychologist, Dr. Arthur Jacobson (Colm Feore), finally determines that Miles, who speaks in Hungarian while he sleeps, is the reincarnation of a misogynistic serial killer, Edward Scarka (Paul Fauteux), whose family had relocated from Orban Land to Ohio. Scarka, as seen in The Prodigy’s prologue, disrespectfully chopped off womyn’s hands and murdered them in his supervillainous hillbilly house of horrors. He was probably a Republican, too – the viewer just senses it. Hungary, in Jewish consciousness, is inseparable from its twentieth-century history of anti-Semitism and the “Holocaust”, and Scarka personifies the threat of retro central-European bad-optics nationalism’s reincarnation in Rust Belt populism and toxic masculinity. After Dr. Jacobson tries hypnotizing Miles in order to learn more about the malevolent Hungarian soul occupying his body, Miles threatens to accuse him of sexually molesting him – because, of course, that is what incorrigible young white men are doing these days – falsely accusing Jewish men of being pedophiles. Who needs the bother, amirite, sisters? Just #RESIST pregnancy and have an abortion.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of the books Drugs, Jungles, and Jingoism and Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies.

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public

Try as it might to seem hip and relevant, Emilio Estevez’s hero-librarians vanity project The Public never manages to shake a vague feeling of being something slightly quaint left over from the 1990s. Estevez, in a role perhaps intended to reference the actor’s iconic turn as a cool school library detainee in The Breakfast Club, appears as an idealistic but hardship-weathered employee of the Cincinnati Public Library whose personal and professional ethics are tested when a mob of crazy homeless men occupies the facility and demands to be allowed to use the library as an overnight shelter on a bitterly cold evening. Curiously, writer-director-producer Estevez appears to cling to the outmoded liberal convention of the white savior coming to the aid of downtrodden blacks and browns – in 2019. Star-power casting, with Christian Slater and Alec Baldwin also appearing, make the movie more watchable than it probably deserves to be.

3 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Public is:

5. Green. Annoying but well-meaning millennial chick Jena Malone rides the bus to work to reduce her carbon footprint, and the presence of a taxidermied polar bear (“Beary White”) in the library serves to remind the viewer of wildlife impacted by melting ice caps.

4. Anti-drug. One subplot involves the search for a missing opioid addict (Nik Pajic). Estevez’s character is also revealed to be a recovered alcoholic who once lived on the streets.

3. Media-critical. A self-promoting local reporter (Gabrielle Union) intentionally misrepresents the protagonist’s stance of solidarity with the homeless, leaving viewers with the impression that he is a madman holding hostages inside the library. Her cameraman (Ki Hong Lee) objects, but is ultimately complicit in the duplicity. Provocatively, the term “fake news” is applied to the mainstream media rather than to independent commentators.

2. Communist. “To each, according to his needs” is very much the moral of the film.

1.Racially confused. The Public represents a partially naïve effort at postracialism while also including distinctively anti-white elements. Against expectation, the film casts black actress Gabrielle Union as the unlikable reporter – showing that blacks can also be bad – but other blacks in the movie appear well-intentioned or victimized, with some depicted as harmlessly insane. Jeffrey Wright, however, appears as a polished and capable black library director. Christian Slater plays a slickly dressed law-and-order prosecutor and mayoral candidate who, though his political party is never mentioned, represents a heartless all-white Republicanism that must eventually give way to a more inclusive vision represented by his compassionate black political opponent.

Oddly, the movie opens with an angry black rapper shouting “Burn the books!” and ranting about tearing down monuments as various unfortunate street people appear queuing up to get into the library and out of the cold. The rap’s apocalyptic vision forecasts what is presumably the fate awaiting reactionary whites who fail to get “woke” and join the fight against inequality. European-American literary heritage in The Public is a universal legacy and an inspiration for all of “the people”, but Europe’s classical civilization is also insulted. The setting of Cincinnati invokes Cincinnatus, the exemplar of selfless public service, but the name “Athena” – evoking the Greek goddess of wisdom – is given to an eccentric old anti-Semite (Dale Hodges) who suspects those around her of belonging to “the Tribe”, while another of the vagrants (Patrick Hume) is nicknamed “Caesar”, with antiquity symbolically displaced, homeless, and reduced to pitiable madness in the context of multicultural modernity. A library book defaced with a swastika, meanwhile, reminds viewers of the persistent threat of white bigotry.

More interesting is the treatment of the preserved polar bear, “Beary White”, which – whether intentionally or otherwise – evokes “polar bear hunting” or the anti-white “knockout game” in a ghettoized urban setting in addition to bolstering the global warming messaging. The film concludes with a shot of the towering, fierce, and triumphant-looking polar bear, which is perhaps intended to symbolize the moral victory of white-liberal-savior-with-soul Emilio Estevez, who redeems himself and his race and hopefully avoids the hunt by self-sacrificingly taking up the cause of impoverished minorities. The irony of such an interpretation is that the life-like bear is merely a feat of accomplished taxidermy and that the once-majestic creature is already dead inside.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies – the DEFINITIVE Alt-Right statement on Hollywood!

Sollers Point

American Honey’s McCaul Lombardi stars as Keith, a directionless Baltimore wigger and drug dealer just released from prison and attempting to find his place in the world. At stake in the formless, meandering story is whether the poorly behaved and inarticulate protagonist will settle into the family pattern of working-class tedium and community coexistence or fall back in with the white nationalist gang with which he became affiliated while incarcerated. Keith bowls from one unnecessarily unpleasant situation into another, getting into fights, making a little money, and chasing after various specimens of ghetto tail. Lombardi is an intense performer, and Jim Belushi is likable as his boring but well-meaning dad. What at first appears to be a downbeat and largely pointless character study, however, is revealed to be an accidental comedy once the filmmaker’s ridiculous intentions are taken into consideration.

4 out of 5 stars – in part for the unintentional humor furnished by the director in the DVD extra features. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Sollers Point is:

3. Anti-drug. Diminishing marijuana’s glamor, a thug mentions that his stash had recently been stuffed up his ass. The film also offers a putrid portrait of an aging, heroin-addicted whore hawking her unappetizing wiles on a roadside.

2. Pro-family. Keith’s father does what he can to protect and provide for his wayward son, and other family members are also helpful and affectionate. Keith seems to be troubled by his absence from his niece’s life.

1.Multiculturalist, pro-miscegenation, and anti-white. Baltimore appears in the film as a more or less functional chocolate city marred only by the presence of reckless and immature young white men and trashy white women. Keith’s father, at least, seems to be a good man as evidenced by the fact that he hangs out and plays cards with blacks – so not all white people in the movie are criminals or addicted to dope. “I was really interested in reflecting the diversity of this neighborhood in southeast Baltimore,” soyboy writer-director Matt Porterfield explains in an interview included on the Sollers Point DVD, “but I wanted to sort of focus on the ways in which they shared space rather than the divisions, you know?” The way in which Keith shares space with his black neighbors, however, seems to entail an inferior and deferential role. When Keith’s wigger nationalist acquaintances roll up with hostile intentions, Keith’s black thug neighbors come to his aid by throwing liquor bottles at the white gang’s van; but then they expect him to pick up the broken glass littering the street – which he obediently does. Keith, Porterfield says, has to “figure out who his people are”, and as Porterfield concludes, “his people in the film are white and black” – which may go a long way toward explaining why the character is so lost. Interestingly, the writer-director describes his movie as “a portrayal of a white male in society trying to find his place,” adding that Keith is “not being given any traditional rites of passage.” I burst out laughing, however, when he added that the protagonist is “representative of, you know, a large portion of the population that put our current president in office. […] It’s tapping into a cultural energy that we all kind of want to understand, that put Trump in office.” Which, of course, is 2016 in a nutshell. The Dems should never have underestimated Trump’s appeal to the wigger jungle fever ex-con MAGA drug dealer demographic!

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies – the DEFINITIVE Alt-Right statement on Hollywood!

Reagan Devil

Regular readers of icareviews are aware of this writer’s interest in shadow government and conspiracy lore. Here, then, if only for the benefit of a chuckle, is a theory that is admittedly rather loony, but nevertheless possessed of a certain poetic charm and appropriateness. It comes from attorney Richard J. Bisbee’s novel Capitalism Imperfectly Understood:

In 2000 I met my favorite client, a woman of about my age, Angela Churchill. True to her name, she was a “church lady,” a regular at the local Catholic Church. […] In 1973 as a young adult she was profoundly affected by the movie, The Exorcist. A few years later, she began hearing “spiritual voices.” She became convinced that she was “demon possessed.” […] Her psychiatrist concluded that she would only cooperate with him if exorcism was tried. He convinced the local Bishop to authorize an exorcism for “therapeutic purposes.” […] Amid much drama, no doubt inspired by the movie, the “demon” was drawn out and expelled, sent “back to Hell.” […]

By 1976 her life was back on track. […]

But Angela’s “vision” was not limited to the afterlife and world of spirits. During her “demonic possession,” she believed that she had been given a special insight into American politics. It all went back to the 1973 movie, The Exorcist. The book of the same name was based on a real life story, the alleged “possession” of a boy. In the movie, a girl named Regan who lives in Washington D.C., is possessed by a spirit that arises from an artifact dug up in Northern Iraq.

Angela’s special insight was that this movie was actually a “coded message” from “Hollywood insiders” regarding the “demonic possession of the American Presidency.” Regan is but a variation of Reagan. In the sixties, Ronald Reagan had been Governor of California, and by 1973 was already being touted as an eventual President. […]

Exorcist

Angela was convinced that Reagan was “demon possessed.” That dark, Satanic powers guided his every move. And that he worshiped Mammon, a pagan god from the Old Testament who was now a demon. Pagan gods were often relegated to demon status in Catholic mythology. Angela was convinced that Reagan, once President, would turn the country over to Mammon, the god of money and greed. […]

Years later when Reagan won election, she was not surprised. It was all coming true, just as she had foreseen. Reagan’s deregulation of the financial industry led directly to the Bank and Savings & Loan bailouts. Their association with mobsters and reliance on astrologers confirmed Angela’s conviction that the Reagans were not true Christians. And that they had given the country over to mobsters turned financiers. […] Even Reagan’s name presaged evil: Ronald Wilson Reagan, three names with six letters each, or “666.” […]

Her disapproval was not limited to the Reagans. Indeed, Angela believed that “the demon” or “demons” continued to “possess” subsequent Presidents and other politicians. The trend toward a “Wall Street government” continued under George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Increasingly, speculators on Wall Street were gambling with the life savings of the people, both in America and worldwide. Usury laws were rescinded. Increasingly, the rich were allowed to prey at will upon the people. Greed was everywhere, corrupting the people with false values and “idols.”

Hmm …

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Endnotes

Bisbee, Richard J. Capitalism Imperfectly Understood. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2011, pp. 251-254.

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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY TWENTY

Kill the Messenger

Anybody with even a casual interest in conspiracy lore knows at least the outline of the true events that inspired this worthwhile film. Released on the heels of the Ferguson unrest of 2014, Kill the Messenger tells the story of San Jose Mercury News journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), who discovered that the 80s crack apocalypse epicentered in Los Angeles was facilitated by the Central Intelligence Agency through its sponsorship of the Nicaraguan contras.

Unlike any number of other media stories about police brutality, microaggressions, gentrification, hoodie scares, or other mysterious manifestations of racism and white privilege, Webb’s unsavory revelations give blacks good reason to be angry at their government’s actions. Webb made powerful enemies with his disclosures, which cut across partisan politics but incensed blacks in particular, and understandably so, given crack’s devastation of their families and neighborhoods. Kill the Messenger stops short of alleging that the CIA intentionally targeted black communities for destruction, but does highlight the particular blight these areas have endured.

Primarily, Kill the Messenger is the story of Webb the man, whose life and career were irreparably damaged by the titular smear campaign. Tastefully, but admittedly somewhat disappointingly, the movie leaves to viewers’ imaginations the question of whether Webb, as the official version goes, committed suicide by shooting himself twice (!) in the head or was murdered by some New World Order assassin. Renner is intense as Gary Webb, and the use of actual television news reportage of the day – including CIA shill (and current Ben Carson foreign policy advisor) Duane Clarridge’s jaw-droppingly stupid and smarmy reaction to Webb’s allegations: “Don’t give me that conspiracy bullshit. […] There has never been a conspiracy in this country” – does much to enhance the impression of reality.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Kill the Messenger is:

6. Non-partisan. Both Republicans and Democrats are implicated, as is indicated by the opening montage.

5. Pro-gun. Webb keeps a handgun in his home and uses it to scare a spooky prowler away from his car.

4. Drug-ambivalent. Webb and his wife (Rosemarie DeWitt) smoke weed, but a visit to South Central Los Angeles underscores crack’s social ravages.

3. Media-critical. After initially celebrating his breakthrough, Webb’s fellow journalists either distance themselves from him or devote themselves to discrediting his work.

2. Anti-state. This writer must not have been paying attention during his high school civics class when the teacher explained how it was the government’s responsibility to import hard drugs into the country.

1. Borderline anti-Semitic! Richard Schiff plays Richard Zuckerman, a CIA asset and shill utilizing The Washington Post to trash Webb’s credibility. Tim Blake Nelson plays sleazy attorney Alan Fenster, who, while lending crucial assistance to Webb’s investigation, comes across as the stereotypical lawyer who insists even in private conferences on referring to his client “Freeway” Rick Ross (Michael K. Williams) as merely an “alleged” drug dealer. Oliver Platt, meanwhile, appears as Mercury News executive editor Jerry Ceppos, who at first defends Webb’s work but then wimps out in the face of the media firestorm. Perhaps to compensate for these unappealing characterizations, both Webb and his wife as visualized in the movie are darker, less Nordic-looking figures than the biographical subjects.

Gary Webb

Gary Webb

Jeremy Renner

Jeremy Renner

 

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Foxcatcher

From Capote (2005) collaborators director Bennett Miller and co-writer Dan Futterman, here is another somber character study revolving around the circumstances of a true crime. Magic Mike himself, Channing Tatum, stars as Olympic grappler Mark Schultz, who in 1987 was taken under the wing of eccentric pharmaceuticals heir John E. “Golden Eagle” du Pont (Steve Carell), who sponsored America’s team at Seoul in 1988. Du Pont would hardly warrant the movie treatment if not for the fact that he murdered Schultz’s brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), another one of the wrestlers sponsored by the eccentric multimillionaire, in 1996.

Tatum gets another role that allows him to display not only his competence as an actor, but his impressive athleticism as well. Comedian Steve Carell, nominated for Best Actor, has with justification been praised for bringing to life an unexpectedly deep and enigmatic character, and his exaggeration of Du Pont’s halting quirks of speech and his solemn air succeeds in creating an onscreen presence more magnetic and fascinating than the real man who inspired it. Foxcatcher invites comparison with the same year’s similarly intense Whiplash, another story of a disturbing Svengaliesque relationship, and should engross audiences prepared to be entertained by something again as unstintingly grim.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Foxcatcher is:

5. Pro-gay. More than one scene of grappling carries an undeniably homoerotic charge. As Kristian Lin observes in Fort Worth Weekly, the film “is about a rich guy who can’t explain his deep-seated need to spend hours each day with his arms around young, muscular men wearing singlets. In real life, du Pont had a wife (who is completely left out of this movie), and his problems likely stemmed from paranoid schizophrenia rather than latent homosexuality.”

4. Anti-drug. Magic Mike’s use of cocaine with Du Pont’s encouragement marks his nadir as a person and athlete. His sponsor also throws him off-course with copious alcohol.

3. Anti-gun. Private gun ownership gets a black eye with Du Pont’s murder of David Schultz. The place name Newtown Square (in Pennsylvania) may also serve as a subliminal reminder of the Sandy Hook Elementary incident in Newtown, Connecticut.

2. Liberal. Du Pont represents the typical NPR listener’s idea of the dread Republican power structure looming over America – an affluent WASP, crazed, gun-obsessed, hypocritical, and probably secretly homosexual. Du Pont appears as an emblematic figure of the Reagan era beloved of today’s conservatives: a coke-snorting military buff and fraud whose money substitutes for character and whose moralizing masks a hollow, selfish depravity.

1. Anti-American. “I want to talk about America. I want to tell you why I wrestle.” With these words, Jewish co-screenwriter Dan Futterman and Shabbos goy collaborator E. Max Frye establish thematically that their movie is concerned with the essence of what it means to be an American. Not long after uttering these lines, Mark is shown nervously wolfing fast food alone in his car. It is, as Lin puts it, “a takedown of the myths we Americans like to tell ourselves.” The viewer is only invited to feel contempt for the monologue in which Du Pont expresses the pro-America feeling that informs his fears: “When we fail to honor that which should be honored, it’s a problem. It’s a canary in a coal mine […] I’m an ornithologist, but more importantly, I am a patriot, and I want to see this country soar again.” If only people were less patriotic and also more open about their obvious gayness, perhaps, the world would be plagued with less madness and murder.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Rippedpublicans: Where the Action Is!

 Randbo

Rand Paul is

PAUL RANDBO

“Do we get to wonk this time?”

“You don’t seem to want to accept the fact you’re dealing with an expert in political warfare, with a man who’s the best, with guns, with knives, with his bare hands. A man who’s been trained to ignore polls, ignore weather, to live off the land, to eat things that would make a Democrat puke.” – Campaign Manager Col. Trautman

 

Scarf Face

Chris Christie is

SCARF FACE

“You wanna fuck with me? Okay. You wanna play rough? Okay. Say hello to my little fork!”

“What makes you so much better than me? What do you do? Kill people? Shut down bridges? Real contribution to human history, Christie! What makes you think you can be a president? You don’t even know how to be a good governor!” – Mrs. Scarf Face, Elvira Hancock

 

The Tedinator

Ted Cruz is

THE TEDINATOR

“I’ll roll back.”

“All right, listen. The Tedinator’s an infiltration unit: part man, part machine. Underneath, it’s a hyper-alloy combat chassis, microprocessor-controlled. Fully armored; very tough. But outside, it’s living human tissue: flesh, skin, hair, blood – grown for the cyborgs.” – Future Pundit Kyle Reese

white_house_down

Magic Mike himself, big badass Channing Tatum, stars as a Capitol policeman and would-be Secret Service agent who gets his chance to play at the real thing when he and his daughter (Joey King) tour the White House on precisely the day real-life Obama disser James Woods, the devious head of White House security, plans to stage a coup d’etat to unseat President Django, played by Jamie Foxx.

It is appropriate that the opening credits acknowledge a company called Mythology with this lightweight production, considering how White House Down is nothing if not an encapsulation of liberals’ mythologized view of an idealized President B.O., the scholarly man of peace who could solve all of America’s problems if only given enough cooperation and tax revenue. President Django, suitably enough, makes His first appearance in a three-helicopter formation symbolizing the Trinity of His Godhead.

The film follows the basic template of the Die Hard franchise, with a bloodied, battered Magic Mike, complete with soiled wifebeater and an imperiled loved one among the hostages, jumping, running, and dragging himself through historic bedrooms and the obligatory elevator shaft like a younger, sexier, generally less interesting John McClane.

The action is decent, if unoriginal, though there is an admitted joy to the scene of the mild-mannered, bespectacled President Django getting unchained on the White House lawn and hanging out of the window of His chauffeured car with a rocket launcher. James Woods brings a necessary seriousness to the film, while gorgeously quirky Maggie Gyllenhaal, wasted here in the role of a Secret Service bigwig, is at least enjoyable to ogle.

3.5 of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that White House Down is:

9. Anti-tobacco. President Django is not a smoker.

8. Anti-Christian. Prominently featured terrorist Killick (Kevin Rankin) has a cross tattooed on his chest.

7. Pro-miscegenation. Magic Mike’s daughter has a crush on President Django.

6. Anti-racist (i.e., pro-yawn). Right-wing white nationalists naturally play a part in the coup.

5. Feminist and anti-marriage. Magic Mike’s daughter not only protects the President, but saves the world from nuclear holocaust. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a strong, self-assured, and independent woman with no need of a man. Her ex-husband was an “asshole”.

4. Egalitarian. President Django deploys a folksy anecdote to explain how poverty causes crime.

3. Antiwar. Refreshingly, White House Down vilifies defense contractors and poo-poos the fearmongering about Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Undermining this show of pacifism, however, is the President’s favorable attitude toward drones.

2. Crypto-Zionist. Conspiratorial mastermind Woods is a fanatical neoconservative bent on destroying Iran. White House Down points the finger not at Israel, however – that country receiving mention only as a signatory to a Middle East peace treaty – but at vague “corporations” and a nebulous “military-industrial complex” with which President Django must grapple. In addition, the implosion of the Capitol dome from a fire inside the building corroborates the official story obscuring the implosion of the Twin Towers and WTC 7, thus diverting attention from any possible Israeli involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Magic Mike’s daughter wears a shirt depicting a squid or octopus to show her solidarity with the forces of the New World Order.

1. Statist. A few bad apples may exist, but government, as personified or deified by Lincoln aficionado President Django, generally has America’s best interests at heart. Racist mercenary Killick, in addition to his cross tattoo, sports an anarchist circle-A on one of his arms. Also demonized are anti-government hackers of the Wikileaks and Anonymous varieties.

Assault-On-Wall-Street-Dominic-Purcell

Prolific writer-producer-director Uwe Boll, best known for notoriously reviled horror films like House of the Dead (2003) and Alone in the Dark (2005), now taps into understandable populist rage at the crony capitalist establishment with the depressing Assault on Wall Street. Powerfully built Dominic Purcell, something of a poor man’s Clive Owen, stars as down-on-his-luck security guard Jim Baxford, who, after losing his job and his wife (Erin Karpluk) following her protracted illness and financial anxiety suicide, decides to diversify his portfolio with a little vigilante vengeance directed at the seemingly untouchable high-rollers and bankster exploiters he holds collectively responsible for his personal tragedy.

Purcell is adequately tough and earnest, if not particularly interesting, in the lead; but it is in two key supporting roles that Assault on Wall Street shows true inspiration in casting. An aging John Heard is the perfect choice to play number one on Baxford’s hit list: selfish, nihilistic toxic investment CEO Jeremy Stancroft. Even greasier, however, in a role one wishes had been expanded, is uber-oily Eric Roberts as money-grubbing attorney Patterson. Roberts has aged, if not quite gracefully, then fascinatingly, with a uniquely silverfish-like screen presence that ideally lends itself to high villainy. Other familiar faces in the cast include Keith David, Edward Furlong, and Michael Pare as Baxford’s buddies Freddy, Sean, and Frank.

Assault on Wall Street is a decent rental, but may disappoint vigilante fans by spending too much time (nearly an hour) on the humiliating build-up and not enough on the retribution so temptingly advertised in the title. Consequently, it earns a modest 3.5 of 5 possible stars.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Assault on Wall Street is:

11. Pro-police. Cops are depicted as human types who share in the general plight and sympathize with Baxford’s mission.

10. Anti-slut. “I’m gonna get an STD from this sandwich,” Frank teases a waitress. Corporate bigwigs consort with whores.

9. Christ-ambivalent. While a preacher attempts consolation, mouthing, “God visits us with many mysteries in life,” Baxford rather takes to heart more militant Biblical passages such as, “He trains my hands for war” (cf. nos. 1 and 7)

8. Marriage-ambivalent. Baxford’s marriage is a devoted one and would, if not for her illness and his financial worries, be happy. Friend Frank’s wife, however, is a cheater.

7. Antiwar. Baxford is a veteran forgotten in his time of need by the country that used him. In reply to the idea that violence is not a solution, a caller to a radio program asks, “Isn’t violence the official solution in Iraq and Afghanistan?” (cf. nos. 1 and 9)

6. Postracial, with blacks and whites interacting as friends irrespective of racial differences. And to demonstrate that his is an equal opportunity beef, Baxford even liquidates a few blacks along with the many white guys in suits and ties.

5. Drug-ambivalent. Baxford smokes philosophically and his friends are enthusiastic drinkers. “Let’s go get some alcohol, make the pain go away.” Baxford, in the wake of his personal ruin, is invited to “watch the game and do some serious drinkin'” for therapeutic purposes. But a man is claimed in a news report to have died in a “drunken accident”.

4. Anti-state. The cronyist statist quo, or the “plutocratic capturing of American politics”, transcends Republican vs. Democrat squabbles, with Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Chris Dodd, and Alan Greenspan getting name-dropped as culpable players. At a lower level of weaselliness, Assistant D.A. Marwood (Barclay Hope) insensitively brushes off Baxford’s concerns. That Baxford is able to purchase military wares from a black market gun dealer (Clint Howard) militates against the notion that government-mandated gun control is effective or enforceable. Betraying the movie’s mixed messages about the place of government, however, is the fact that deregulation is also blamed for the ’08 collapse.

3. Anti-corporate. “The real fuckin’ criminals –  they’re downtown [i.e., on Wall Street].” Goldman Sachs, MF Global, Cerberus Capital, JP Morgan, and Lehman Brothers are among the outfits that receive negative product placement.

2. Anti-capitalistic. “System’s rigged, motherfucker.” Told “Fuck you,” a banker calmly replies, “That’s a fair response, I suppose.” Free market talk conceals an “anything goes mentality”. “The rich still get richer and the poor get poorer.” Stancroft justifies his misdeeds with a social Darwinist outlook. “That’s the free trade system, my friend,” he says. “That’s capitalism.” “There’s not a person on this earth who’s worth over a hundred million dollars that came by that money honestly.” The film also evinces a naive sympathy for the homeless, juxtaposing their plight with the ease of the leisure class.

1. Pro-vigilante. Baxford is his own law, but also a people’s fury, and wears an Anonymous-reminiscent white mask for the final killing spree.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays a trucking company owner whose inexplicably Caucasian son (Rafi Gavron) is set up, arrested for his noncommittal involvement in a friend’s ecstasy dealing, and threatened with a harsh prison sentence unless he agrees to rat out the dealers he knows.  The young man is unwilling to cooperate, but his father, the Rock, is not prepared to see his son’s best years wasted in prison and petitions federal prosecutress Susan Sarandon to allow him to use his trucking business to help her reel in a bigger fish, who turns out to be El Topo, a major player in a Mexican drug cartel.  Johnson’s decision to play the Feds’ game is more than a gamble on his personal safety; by going undercover and involving himself with gangsters, he also incriminates an ex-con employee (Jon Bernthal) attempting to go straight and endangers both men’s families in the process.

Johnson brings a great deal of monstrous manliness and gravitas to any role simply by showing his face, and has little difficulty carrying a picture on his shoulders.  Snitch‘s script, however, is nothing special, and before viewers are treated to the fantastic truck action at the climax, they must endure several mopey scenes of family anguish and of Johnson being humiliated – which, frankly, seem somewhat beneath the Rock’s dignity as a larger-than-life action commodity, attempts at faithfulness to true events notwithstanding.  Likewise, the soundtrack of melodramatic violins seems somewhat out of place in a Rock picture, which would be better served by a punchier, angrier, hip-hoppier set of sounds.  More masculine energy and more action sequences spread throughout the film would make Snitch more satisfying, but highway violence on eighteen wheels, in everything from White Line Fever to Terminator 2, has always been a blast to watch, and Snitch, too, delivers in the end, earning 3.5 of 5 possible stars.

The evidence of personal experience is that the Rock’s presence in Snitch has attracted an audience of altogether substandard human types unlikely to be interested by or even aware of meaning apart from appeal to the basest instincts; nevertheless, Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Snitch is:

7. Anti-Christian.  Sarandon’s unlikable character wears a crucifix.

6. Liberal.  “The liberals think you’re a bitch,” self-interested congressional aspirant Sarandon’s political advisor informs her.  The viewer is left to assume that she must be the film’s representative Republican.

5. Pro-miscegenation.  An outdoor barbecue social, complete with a big, squishy, interracial kiss, seems to have been inserted to show that the races can interact socially in wholesome, non-criminal contexts so as to offset the other, less optimistic depictions in the film.

4. Diversity-skeptical.  Despite nos. 5 and 6 above, America’s accelerating diversity comes across as something much less than a strength in Snitch.  Blacks and Hispanics as represented in the film are largely criminal and violent, and a significant leer from a black inmate suggests that the beatings Gavron suffers in lock-up may be the result of racial targeting.  A black receptionist is uncaring when Johnson inquires about his son; a black woman judge’s ugly face conveys naked hostility toward Gavron; and a Hispanic guard at the jail is corrupt and in league with El Topo.

3. Surprisingly pro-liberty.  Johnson buys a gun to protect himself on the climactic run.  It works.

2. Pro-family.  Johnson and Bernthal, parallel characters in their concern for their respective sons, are good fathers at least in that they want to do the best thing for their families.  Both men have regretfully failed in this in multiple instances, with Bernthal having spent time in prison and Johnson’s first marriage having ended in divorce.  Still, family bonds are of central importance and motivate both protagonists.

1. Anti-state, at least with regard to the War on Drugs.  The threatened sentence for Johnson’s son is correctly depicted as overly harsh, as minimum sentence legislation aimed at locking up drug kingpins has instead had a disproportionate impact on low-level players in the trade.  Sarandon admits that the War on Drugs has been a failure, but persists in prosecuting it with a vengeance to score political points in her congressional campaign.  She is quite prepared, furthermore, to sacrifice innocent lives in achieving her personal ambitions.  The end credits prompt viewers to visit takepart.com/snitch, which, in addition to promoting the movie, offers statistics and a petition to end the high minimum sentences for minor drug offenders.  The film also implies that prison reform is necessary.

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