Sunday, November 28, 2004

Films of increasing relevance

So, like much of the country in which we live, we watched a lot of films over the weekend. Mostly Bond films, which never get old. But there's a couple of others that had us thinking -- there is the phenomenon of the big-budget thriller from 10 or 15 years ago, films that were presumably not meant to have any lasting relevance, and yet somehow they seem prescient.

We've always viewed Executive Decision as being in this genre -- it was brilliant entertainment the first time around, but now is almost creepy: the Arab hijacker who instructs the 747 captain (we're working from memory): "don't try anything funny -- I'm a trained pilot."

Then there's Clear and Present Danger. Of course when written it combined elements of the Iran-Contra scandal with the lunacy of the War on Drugs. But consider its theme -- the CIA torn between professional spooks with some sense of realism versus politicians and spinners with madcap schemes and obsessed with the next public relations stunt. The expertly directed ambush scene in Colombia, in which hidden locals with guns and rocket-launchers expose the fallacious belief of the American tough guys that if you wear dark glasses and travel around in big SUVs, you're safe.

On the other hand, if you ever thought it's only Hollywood that wants happy endings? In the film, the National Security Adviser (and implicitly, the President) are brought down in scandal. In the real world, Dubya gets re-elected and Condi gets promoted.

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