Archives for posts with tag: useful idiots

An opening shot of a drooping American flag signals Compliance‘s relevance to the lugubrious American condition.  This symbolically loaded true crime story begins when Sandra (Ann Dowd), the manager of a fast food restaurant, receives a call from a man (Pat Healy) claiming to be “Officer Daniels” of the local police department.  He informs her that one of her employees, Becky (Dreama Walker), has been accused of stealing money from a patron’s purse and that she is also a person of interest in a broader investigation.  Sandra, under an unusual amount of stress, is eager to comply with the caller’s instructions, no matter how unorthodox these would appear to be.  She complies, for instance, with his wish that Becky should be detained a back room of the restaurant, her belongings searched, and even her clothes removed.  Over the course of the evening “Officer Daniels” instructs Sandra and others to guard and physically and psychologically torture Becky, sometimes meeting with principled resistance on the other end of the line, but, to his immense delight, usually not.

The situations presented in Compliance are absurd and occasionally funny, but more usually disconcerting in reflecting the gullibility of a nation willing to take any figure of putative government or corporate authority at face value as an arbiter of right and wrong and true and false.  “I’m going to need you to address me as ‘sir’ or ‘officer’,” “Officer Daniels” says, and his unwitting dupes comply.  Merely claiming that “this is procedure” or “a standard thing” is sufficient in most cases; but “Officer Daniels” also understands the cowering child (or usefully childish idiot) in people and knows the value of a paternalistic tone when he says, “I don’t really have time to debate it with you, son” or “You need to watch your mouth, son.”  These last items also point to the inconvenience of free speech and dissent to overly ambitious rulers, and just as duplicitous regimes have always sought the hearts and minds of their people, “Officer Daniels” couples his verbal intimidation with flattery, telling a pleased Sandra, for instance, that she is being “very professional” by following orders and that she is “almost like a real cop.”  All the while “Officer Daniels” is nothing but a perverted prank caller.

The cello-and-xylophone score perfectly captures the tragicomically depressing absurdity of a country of docile pawns who consume fast food not just with their mouths, but with their minds as well.  Compliance is about more than a self-contained human resources debacle; it exposes the idiocy of a nation of sheep who believe that the welfare-warfare state and puppet authoritarians like Obama and Romney have their best interests at heart.  A shocking statistic given at the end of the film should offer viewers a salutary serving of food for thought.

4 out of 5 stars.  Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Compliance is:

4. Diversity-skeptical.  A black fast food employee is thoughtlessly foul-mouthed.

3. Anti-corporate.  “Corporate always wants two people for a strip search.”

2. Anti-slut.  Society’s normalization of female depravity makes Becky an easier mark for the more extreme demands made by “Officer Daniels”.

1. State-skeptical.  Like always, they persuade you.

django-unchained

Quentin Tarantino is a man with perhaps one great film to his name and who has managed to coast on the strength of that beloved opus for the better part of two decades; he does, however, have more than one very good film to his credit, and the gorgeously realized Django Unchained can, happily, be added to that list.  His love letter to the spaghetti western and blaxploitation genres, it is also his rabble-rousing death threat to civilization and as such is something of a triumph of self-loathing.

Jamie Foxx is affectingly earnest in his portrayal of Django, Rousseau’s chained man, suddenly presented with the opportunity of achieving his liberty and reuniting with his enslaved wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington).  Christoph Waltz is no less charming as the German dentist (who, in a gratuitous irony, has been named Dr. King Schultz) who offers Django his freedom in exchange for a profitable partnership in tracking bounties.  Leonardo DiCaprio, who shines most brightly as a villain, plays Calvin Candie, the handsome, debonair slavemaster in possession of Django’s woman.

The fabulous cast is, typically for Tarantino, filled to the brim with familiar character actors and pop culture favorites of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, with Michael Parks, Russ Tamblyn, Bruce Dern, Don Johnson, James Remar, and Franco Nero, star of the original Django, all putting in appearances.  Samuel L. Jackson, meanwhile, has probably the funniest role of his career in Stephen, Candie’s loyal but sassy domestic slave – the representative Uncle Tom, in other words – who resents freeman Django at first sight and who, in the race-baiting theology of Django Unchained, embodies what may be the worst of evils: the complaisant betrayal of his own long-suffering people.

That Django Unchained is so successful and involving is proof of writer-director Tarantino’s dangerousness as a filmmaker.  Tarantino, who bears major responsibility for foisting the torture porn genre on humanity through his endorsement (“Quentin Tarantino presents . . .”) of Eli Roth’s execrable anti-human hit Hostel, continues his desensitization of the American public with his obsessive fetishization of the splattered blood and played-for-laughs agony of bullet-riddled unprogressive white men.

With humor but also an unintentional irony, Tarantino has cast himself in a cameo as one of the slavers revolutionarily liquidated by Django.  It is ironic because what what the man is peddling is in effect hatred of himself – of successful whites and of the rich – as an unwitting accomplice in what Yuri Bezmenov describes as the systematic demoralization of Americans by useful idiots through cultural Marxist contamination.  Exhibit A: the critically heralded oeuvre of Quentin Tarantino.

This reviewer can sympathize with Django’s violent impulse to liberation and even the pleasure he takes in killing the men who obstruct his enjoyment of natural rights.  Where the film flies off the ethical rails is in celebrating the shooting not only of those directly imperiling Django’s liberty, but all of their associates, including Candie’s unarmed and mild-mannered sister.  Her crime is one of complacency and, one suspects, of blood relation to the oppressor – of having inherited slavers’ genes.

This is particularly reckless in a film that makes a point of alluding constantly to the contemporary – with hip-hop music, “fuck”-sprinkled dialogue, joking reference to the Holocaust, characters named after Martin Luther King and an Italian western hero, and Tarantino’s endless self-referential postmodern hipsterism – and through these conscious anachronisms advertises some imagined relevance to the race relations of today.  Designed with the express purpose of ripping open and poking the synthetic psychological wounds of crimes not experienced by anyone alive in America today, Django Unchained is nothing if not a wholly superfluous incitation to racial hatred, genocide, and redistribution of wealth.  It is all the more egregious for being so good.

4.5 stars with accompanying whip-scarred stripes.  Goodbye Uncle Tom remains the most incendiary and entertaining treatment of slavery on film, but Tarantino’s new contribution is certainly no slouch.  Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Django Unchained is ominous in its flippancy and:

9. Anti-Christian.  White slavemasters return from a funeral singing a hymn.  Religion that allows for such injustice is a fraud.

8. Anti-tobacco.  Monsieur Candie smokes from a cigarette holder like the bourgeois swine he is.  Rank-and-file southern hick psychos chew and spit.

7. Anti-police.  A racist sheriff turns out to be a wanted criminal.

6. Anti-science.  Study of human biodiversity is represented by pseudoscientific phrenology.  Science = racism.

5. Pro-miscegenation.  A Texas woman eyes Django with interest from her window as he rides through her town.  Black love is described as a tar pool that refuses to let go its hold on the fancy of those who enter (i.e., once you go black, you never go back).  The camera seems to want to lick Foxx’s nude physique.

4. Anti-business.  Thoroughly hostile to private property, the film’s representative forms of commerce are vengeful bounty hunting, the slave trade, and mining – the latter utilizing slave labor, naturally.  Wealth is accumulated through cruelty and murder.  A saloon keeper who objects to Django’s presence is chased out of his own establishment.  Private property = slavery.  “I’m runnin’ a business here,” Candie says during one of the most savage scenes of meanness.

3. Anti-South/anti-white male.  While critics will complain of what was previously the “whitewashing” of American history in films, Django Unchained demonstrates that, if anything, brownwashing and brainwashing are at present the order of the day.  Southerners are without exception vile sadists with bad teeth who live to beat, whip, humiliate, muzzle, brand, and castrate blacks.  The effeminate swagger of Billy Crash (Walton Goggins), the most vicious of Candie’s toadies, suggests that white loathing of and desire to neuter blacks is a function of white sexual inadequacy and salivating, latently homosexual penis envy.  Those not participating directly in these activities remain equally guilty for tolerating the status quo and therefore must receive equal punishment.  The conventional incestuous southerner smear receives a nod with what may be hints of Candie’s overly enthusiastic affection for his sister.  Black-on-black violence results from white manipulation.

2. Anti-slavery/anti-racist (i.e., pro-yawn on both counts).  Django Unchained perpetuates the myth that slavery existed not as an economic expediency, but principally as the plaything of whites’ sadism.  Where anti-racist films have previously presented viewers with the “sacrificial Negro” archetype, Django Unchained breaks new ground by inventing the sacrificial honky, the man who absolves the sins of his racial inheritance by dying to liberate blacks.

1. Black supremacist/genocidal.  They mo betta.

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