Archives for posts with tag: Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The Grey

Reminiscent of The Edge (1997) in its tale of wilderness survival, The Grey has a plane full of oil rig workers crashing in the snowy Alaskan waste, where the few survivors must struggle both against the cold and a pack of vicious wolves who hunt them while also coping with their own intragroup tensions. Neeson is perfectly cast in the lead as the only man in the group with the skills that may be able to keep them alive. Existential flavoring, unexpected bits of humor, and spooky utilization of locations and sound design make The Grey a thrilling adventure and a solid career highlight for the star.

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

4. Anti-corporate. The oil company employs criminal misfits, mercenaries unsuited for any other kind of life. The greedy corporation, one survivor speculates, will expend as little effort as possible to find them, since rescuing the men would only mean having to pay them what they are owed.

3. Pro-family. The men miss their loved ones and have occasional recourse to consoling memories.

2. Anti-Christian. In a moment of despair, Neeson calls out God, demanding that He show him a sign of His existence. Finally, receiving no reply, he resolves, “I’ll do it myself.” A tacky neon cross adorns the exterior of an inn where brutish louts are drunkenly brawling in an early scene.

1. Sadistically green and animal rights militant. The Grey takes place in a universe in which the primordial is sacred and man’s transgressions against the natural world constitute the worst of sins. Neeson, who kills wolves professionally for the oil company, has his Ancient Mariner moment early in the film when he shoots a wolf that presents no immediate danger to him. The other men, too, though fundamentally decent sorts, are accomplices in the corporate rape of the environment and so must be punished by the wolves, the vengeful Furies of the Alaskan wilderness.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

deer crossing

A scabrous, wilfully unpleasant film, Deer Crossing wallows in the worst that humanity has to offer.  Perhaps best described as Bad Day at Black Rock meets I Spit on Your Grave, Christian Jude Grillo’s paranoid death trip into the redneck post-apocalypse that constitutes the U.S.A. outside New York, L.A., and Chicago (at least in the minds of those who live in New York, L.A., and Chicago) is a marginally recommendable film for one outstanding reason: K.J. Linhein’s Zeus-like portrayal of the granddaddy of all sadistic white trash antagonists, Santa-bearded superhick Lukas Walton.

So over-the-top it has to be seen by any admirer of things ludicrously compelling, the characterization dares to evoke what foul thing might have been spawned the night Dan Haggerty got drunk, hogtied Wilford Brimley, pumped him full of heroin, and had himself a high old time.  Lukas is basically Democrats’ idea of the typical Republican: a hulking, hairy, overalls-clad figure from distant antiquity who licks his chops at the thought of oppressing women and children and runs amuck in benighted cultural wastelands like Texas and Alabama; a gun-toting rapist and hater of all humanity, but especially African-Americans, and who will destroy us all if he/it is not stopped.

Deer Crossing takes up with old Lukas after he captures and reconditions city mother Maggie Chancelor (Laura L. Cottrel) and her young son Cole (Kevin Fennell) as the playthings of his inscrutable, primitive whims after they hit a deer on the highway and fatefully crash their car in Lukas’s neck of Deliveranceland.  Eight years will pass before the father, Dr. Chancelor (Warren Hemenway), receives evidence that his missing wife and child may still be alive.  If they are, does he want to know?  If so, his son will have lived more than half of his life in a milieu altogether removed that of Dr. Chancelor.

Is Deer Crossing a contribution to the environment vs. genetics debate or just a greasy middle finger directed at every cowboy hat in sight?  At times the film seems deadly serious; but then Lukas Walton will lope into view and elicit a laugh with his hillbilly hijinks.  The exaggerated quality of the characters and situations is constantly at odds with what seems to be Deer Crossing‘s desire to be taken in earnest.  Sunless, despairing, and silly, but also entertaining, the film is a kind of One-Eyed Jack whose belches and mumbled obscenities invite interpretation.

Christopher Mann, who stars as Detective Derrick Stanswood, seems comfortable in the role of the black man hated because he thrives.  Pinhead himself, Hellraiser‘s Doug Bradley, appears as Sheriff Lock, who – odd for a rural Pennsylvania lawman – sports a futilely wrestled British accent.  Among the other locals are callous cowboy-hat-and-eyepatch-wearing homosexual racketeer Randy (Tom Detrik) and drug-peddling madam and hairdresser Gail (Jennifer Butler).  Ernie Hudson, meanwhile, collects a paycheck by showing up in a couple of scenes as Captain Bailey.

3.5 probably overly generous stars of a possible 5.  Only the most tenebrous sense of humor is likely to endure, let alone enjoy, Grillo’s study.  Ideological Content Analysis, meanwhile, indicates that Deer Crossing is:

7. Anti-Christian.  A cross is visible on a sweaty redneck’s tacky shirt as he sodomizes a male prostitute.

6. Anti-drug.  Lukas keeps Maggie doped so he can have fun with her.  Sheriff Lock is an addict.

5. Anti-marriage.  If your spouse becomes a vegetable, it’s just a depressing hassle.  Better is when they go missing, particularly if there’s a mistress waiting in the hospital wings to become wife #2.

4. Anti-gay.  Because sodomy in the world of this film is the province of sexually inadequate white males and self-loathing backwoods hicks, it is evil and a symptom of moral rot.

3. Black supremacist.  If not for competent cops like Detective Stanswood and Captain Bailey, police departments across the country would be run by goofy, giggly white imbeciles like Detective Kushman (Phil Eichinger).

2. Animal rights militant.  Maggie should have watched the road and never hit that deer.  Her ordeal is her punishment, nature’s manifest wrath in hillbilly form for the sacrificial albatross.  Rural hunting traditions are transformed into the pointless stabbing of a rabbit trapped in a box.

1. Anti-white male/anti-redneck.  Deer Crossing admonishes city-dwellers that, not far outside their small pockets of civilization are seas of woods infested with “inbred, mullet-wearing motherfuckers”.

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