Terrorism Porn

Posted: April 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

HO00002896 Olympus Has Fallen * (out of five stars)

An action flick about an assault on the White House by a group of terrorists sympathetic to North Korea, Olympus Has Fallen revels in, and offers up for our entertainment, all the images that have most disturbed us since September 11, 2001, and which completely and very unfortunately include images from the Marathon Bombings. Thus we watch as the Washington Monument collapses into itself – in slow motion, from many angles, and spectacularly done – in an incredibly deliberate evocation of the collapse of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. This is very quickly followed by a suicide bomber blowing himself up – we see his head and chest separate in fine detail – which leads us, lovingly, into images of dead children and innocent (when are they not?) civilians with limbs blown off. Having just seen the real version of this from Boston, surely I must be dying to see it all again, better shot and in high definition, at my local cinema?images

Obviously, the filmmakers involved (and I’m not going to name them, because I’m sure, individually, all are capable of better, and that this turgid film is just a weird collaborative disaster) could not possibly have known that their film would lend in cinemas just when North Korea was saber-rattling and Boston was getting its dose of deadly terrorism. Why they ever thought that this film could be considered entertaining is the really troubling question. It’s the opposite of entertaining. Having just watched real scrolling updates relentlessly regurgitating themselves under the images of real news people who are all doing their job against the obstructions of sleeplessness, inaccurate information and in-ear pieces and autocues being spoken and programmed with the slap-dashery that accompanies a true disaster, the imagined, pathetic conceit of how those elements would go down in a situation like the one imagined by this movie are stupid and insulting.

images-1Later in the film, there are further explosions, creating a “shock moment” – and facial and verbal reactions to those explosions, and that moment – that are once again specifically designed to evoke the shock and terror we all felt during the days of September 11th. This is not simply emotional manipulation, it’s terrorism porn, preying on our darkest memories to sell movie tickets, the deep problem being the movie we’ve paid to see is devoid of any entertainment value whatsoever.

The acting is atrocious across the board. Gerard Butler – who should have, with the career boost given to him by 300, at least tried to emulate Russell Crowe (who got a similar boost with Gladiator) and do adult thrillers – instead has chosen to be a run-with-a-gun man, and he’s even terrible at that; he’s the worst leading man in memory, gritting his teeth and chewing his lines like I did when I was seven years old, copying Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry, except I was better. Morgan Freeman does not play the President until – spoiler! – the President (Aaron Eckart, slumming) gets taken hostage and all of a sudden, whoa and behold, Morgan Freeman is once again playing the (acting) President. So can we just get it over with, please, and elect Morgan Freeman the actual President? ( Also, why in the world did Oscar-winner Melissa Leo accept her role as a crying, screaming “terrified woman”?) The musical score (again, I will not name names, as I assume everything about this film is a compromise, and a bad one) is possibly the worst score I can ever remember, but it does have to underline – or overstate – lines such as “He just opened the gates of Hell.”imgres-2

Spoiler alert, sort of: towards the end of the film, Butler’s character does a “cheer moment”. But no-one in the (proper, paid, Saturday afternoon) audience I saw it with cheered. They were stone-cold silent. Why? Because it just felt horribly racist.

It even got worse from there, in the downhill slide towards the ostentatious, self-important credits. The film ends – spoiler alert? – in applause for the hero. This morning, I saw the residents of Watertown applaud the police officers who caught Suspect Two. That was real. Olympus Has Fallen isn’t just a fiction, falsehood or even fantasy: it’s just fake. In the end, it was The Cops, collectively, who caught Suspect 2 in Watertown. According to Olympus Has Fallen, all that was needed instead, then, on September 11th 2001, and probably on D-Day, was just One Man With a Gun.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. deach says:

    Great review of a movie that should not be watched or reviewed.

  2. Gary Wilcox says:

    Bad though it may be, it is just a movie. The remedy to whining about how something on screen reminds you of real life is to refrain from going to the movies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s