Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Intimidation Wins, Cowardice Wins, Film Loses
Critics talk a lot about bold independent movies that are ignored by "mainstream" Hollywood. We champion movies that are small, creative, and groundbreaking, which dare to do things that stupid comedies like "The Interview" would never attempt. Let right now we have a movie that has been crushed by what is essentially terrorism. I'll try to hold back my patriotic rage and instead be more incensed that any cinematic release be assaulted by such aggression by a nation state, one apparently no longer content to oppress it's own people but now must oppress the entire world out of petty pride and a complete lack of a sense of humor. We should be just as angry that "The Interview" was censored just as we were thirty years ago when crazy home-bred fundamentalists tried to shut down "Last Temptation of Christ". Movies are an artform, they should be protected like any other. If North Korea has a problem with that, we shouldn't care. This is the Western world, this is America, we've dealt with worse than you. If North Korea finds our way of life a threat, we should be all the more proud of it.
But more I'm angry at Sony, who have shown their true colors here. Sony shouldn't be humiliated by the hacks, they should be humiliated by their actions today. They gave in to threats. I'm sure Sony was more than happy to have a way out of what was soon to be a major boondoggle and a film that probably was going to be a flop anyway in the crowded Christmas season. Despite theater chains dropping the film, there were still tens of thousands of theaters ready to play "The Interview". Sony took the easy route. Charlie Chaplain's "The Great Dictator" was an inspiring use of film to assault the greatest evil of the time, lampooning Hitler at the height of his power. The studio execs of Sony seem to lack the resolve of just a few generations past. We should all be ashamed.
Film, as a medium, has lost today.