torture porn

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Atlantic's Noah Berlatsky calls Olympus Has Fallen vile, false patriotism--"both a shameless exploration of the worst aspects of the American psyche and, in consequence, one of the most depressing and despicable films I have ever seen." He points out that "The controlling paranoid fantasy here is, again, that North Korea is somehow our technological and military superior:"

In the real world, North Korea is nearly as incompetent as its leader is insane; it can barely fire a rocket, much less orchestrate a massively complicated, multi-stage, higher-than-high-tech (no box cutters here) split-second operation deep in the American homeland. But whatever. The main point is to somehow--anyhow--set up that Die Hard in the White House pitch, so that we can access the vast portion of the American cowboy hindbrain that spasms when we see a lone hardass struggling against the odds. [...]

The film is pretty much an unbroken series of low points, but if I had to pick the absolute worst scene, I would have to go with the one where Banning gleefully tortures two captured terrorists. There's no Zero Dark Thirty shilly-shallying here, no oh-water-boarding-is-just-enhanced-interrogation, or does-torture-work-or-doesn't-it. Our hero stabs one guy in the throat to get the other one to talk, then stabs the remaining fellow in the knee, all the while boasting about how the US has trained him in information-extraction techniques. The audience reaction in my theater was jubilant; people gasped and laughed as Banning stabbed the guy in the throat and then, as the interrogation got bloodier, they broke into spontaneous applause. Torture--it has to work! It's too fun not to.

He concludes with dismay:

I really want to believe that America is not as smug or as stupid as Olympus Has Fallen suggests. That's why I'm hoping that the people of this great nation stay away in droves from this evil, cynical picture and its vile vision of our country.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on March 22, 2013 11:17 AM.

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