Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Monday, September 19, 2005  

Two movies

I was in Mt. Shasta for a few days taking photographs. While there I went to two movies. One was Lord of War with Nicolas Gage. The other was The Great Raid.

The first movie I named was horrible and one wonders why it was made. It did not have a single sympathetic character. The other movie wanted to inform and please, but ultimately failed in its project.

Here's why:

“Where there is no belief in the soul” and its need for salvation, Flannery O'Connor once wrote, “there is very little drama.”

Lord of War has no belief in the soul or need for salvation. It has no real drama at all. You don't care about anything in the movie. Not even its progandistic anti-gun message.

But as well meaning as The Great Raid is, it never really seems to make the point that life is sacred and thus the raid to save lives is crucial.

People are killed horribly by the Japanese in the film but somehow our deepest sympathies are never aroused as they should be. It simply illustrates a world insane, but the raid itself doesn't seem like an attempt to restore sanity to it since we have no particular sympathy for the ones being rescued apart from their being Americans.

A John Wayne war movie was much hokier, inaccurate, and sanitized, yet it was much more moving. Why? Because underlying it was a culture of belief and faith that was clear and unabashed.

The Great Raid thinks it need only illustrate a heroic tale of rescue and the drama will be automatically provided, but the only part I found deeply moving was at the end during the credits when they ran film taken during WW2 after the raid of the men and people involved.

In the book, Ghost Soldiers, which I read about the raid, one of the men in the prison camp was religious and had an immense battle with God over the suffering they endured. Other men mocked him for it, too. The movie tries to make a passing reference to this conflict but it's a very slight glancing mention.

The Great Raid lacks drama. You wouldn't think so, yet it does.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 12:45 PM |