Tuesday, October 4, 2016

London has Fallen, the Movie

London is a beautiful city to visit and, from what I hear, especially nice to live in. I myself remember the plethora of races and languages on the underground, as well as in the many restaurants and on the streets. In terms of sheer diversity, it rivals most parts of New York City. 

Of course, as someone who was born into the especially cosmopolitan middle class of the Commonwealth, this diversity warms my heart, even if I'm aware that it speaks to an Empire's colonial past and the neocolonial present. This historical awareness, however, does not lead to the simplistic conclusion of calling all of these people milling about—to include myself—collaborators.

Yes, this is morally convenient, but within the diversity of skins and languages and cultures, there's also a diversity of motivation and group and individual choices of advantages, collusion, collaborations and, especially, compromise; and in this mosaic there lies the truth behind the survival of the human story. 

And thus, the survival of these eight million stories—even the diverse ones—cannot be dismissed as collaborations with neocolonialism even if the stench of financiers and oligarchs hangs strong in the air. This is evermore true when we add to the function this city, of this former Empire, the view of the most recent natives of this land and their Brexit vote against the outsiders. I'm getting too abstract now, let me focus on London and her inhabitants. 

One can best gain a sense of this moving collage of 8 million human vectors when reading the lies of Zadie Smith or Salman Rushdie, but even these approximations don't fully explain the city. 

It goes without saying, then, that any look at a subset of the model, or function, or matrix will lead to limited and possibly erroneous conclusions about London .Therefore, when I decided to watch London has Fallen, I didn't have high expectations, but I suppose I had some and that might have been my second mistake. 

It was, of course, a mindless action film, and it started out with the usual premise of a sharp line between good and bad. Perhaps I had not exposed myself to the Hollywood toxin of patriotic propaganda for some time, but this film seemed especially insidious. And I'm not being hyperbolic when I say I've seen more nuance in Youtube comments. 

The basic premise, of a major arms-dealer—a darkie, of course—being the bad guy, never mind the history of American and UK arms dealing, was enough to elicit a laugh from me. So too was the reiteration that drone strikes were surgical tools and those who are innocent are still really guilty by association. I'll sidestep the childish human motivations here—revenge, mainly—and just say that not once was the golden rule applied: the sandbaggers should be saints when killed, we should not, apparently.

Then, we have London, filled with the enemy. Of only. Combine that with the comment of "United Nations of everyone who hates us," and all the diversity I spoke of, all those cultures and histories merely became masked as the enemy. Oh my. 

For humor's sake, let me list a few more of the gems mouthed in this movie. There were enough to make me wonder if this was all tongue in cheek, a comedy disguised as an action movie:

The US President, on what he tells his son: "treat others as you want to be treated." A dark joke for the drakes, if ever there was one. 

POTUS: "Innocents died because of me." Presumably not sand niggers. 

When one of the sandbaggers claims to be killing POTUS because of a dead sister, POTUS replies: "I won't justify your insanity to make you feel better about yourself." Again, this insanity label is never applied to US/UK actions.

The white hero, fully following James Baldwin's accusation of "Aching, nobly, to wade through the blood of savages," tells the aforementioned darkie during the usual action movie fight (or cleansing blood ritual) that: "Assholes like you have been trying to kill us for a long fucking time. You know what? In a 1000 years, we'll still fucking be here."

While the ending had a truly beautiful gem about minding one's own business as a nation not being enough to prevent such attacks in a dangerous world with few good options. All options, I suppose, having something to do with the Baldwin quote I mentioned and that burden of slaughtering savages.

Indeed, it was telling that the movie was so driven as to never entertain second guessing of said actions and the lack of the following quotes:
"Chickens coming home to roost."
"If God is just, I weep for my country."

I was going to be unoriginal and label this movie another Triumph of the Will, but that doesn't seem to fit. Nor does war porn or blood porn. No, this film seems to fall exclusively under the wade through the blood of savages kind of porn. Unwieldy, perhaps, and a statement to my skills or lack thereof, but it fits. Onwards, then, as I continue to tilt towards changing the narrative of this unlearning country. 

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