Monday, 24 June 2013

God Bless America (4 Stars)

Ever since I was at school I've been fascinated by the legacy of the Roman Empire. Many praise it as the pinnacle of human society, whereas others call it an empire of evil. It was founded on high philosophical principles, but it's remembered for the cruel way it treated the Jews during their occupation of Israel. They advocated peace throughout the known world, the Pax Romana, but Rome is remembered for its endless series of wars. The Roman senate was an early form of democracy, but Rome turned into a dictatorship under the Caesars.

I wish I could be alive two thousand years from now to see how history judges America. It's a country that was founded with high ideals. When it was first settled it was a land of freedom for people who were escaping the oppression of the European countries they came from. The American constitution is a wonderful document. It sets out marvelous ideals. Many Americans say that they love their country, but what they really love is the American dream. Not the American reality.

America is a land of cruelty, in which only the strongest survive. Those who have high paid jobs have benefits and can go to the doctor for free; those who have badly paid jobs have to pay for doctors' fees themselves. Shouldn't it be the other way round? America's liberal gun laws have led to every criminal and madman being able to buy a gun and shoot anyone he doesn't like. As for freedom of speech, it's very difficult to express your viewpoints in America, especially if you're a Communist or an atheist. The equality of black and white is still something that has to be fought for on a daily basis, not something that can be taken for granted.

In the film Frank (Joel Murray) is a deep thinking man who is able to see behind the veil of the society he lives in. The Populus Americanus is kept happy with the circuses presented on television. Happy and distracted. Why worry about society when all people talk about is American Idol and Kim Kardashian? (American Idol is called "American Superstarz" in the film, maybe they objected to being pointed at). In a fit of rage Frank kills Chloe, the teenage star of a reality show. This is a one-off act of protest for him, but he's witnessed by a 16-year-old girl called Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr) who encourages him to wage war on all displays of American shallowness, rudeness and meanness. Together they go on a killing spree that climaxes in an assault on American Idol. Sorry, I meant American Superstarz.

This is another film that's difficult to rate. In cases like this I should have a list of categories for a film, give marks for each and average out the result. The message behind this film is profound. The speeches are bold, even though they may seem pretentious. Frank's dullness is deliberate, I'm sure of it, but it spoils the film for me. He's meant to be an average middle-aged American, but to me he's too average. On the other hand, Roxy's enthusiastic rejection of shallowness in all its forms is inspiring, however exaggerated her views are.

This is a good film with a good message. It's not a message of depression. The director doesn't want to inspire the viewers to anarchy, but he does want to wake them up from their complacency. They should open their eyes to the America they live in.Things have changed a lot over the last 400 years. Whereas people fled to America in the past, today there is much more freedom and equality in the European countries that they left behind. America isn't a lost cause. Things can be changed. But the only way to change is to look to the countries of Western Europe for guidance, countries where freedom and equality reign.

P.S. I hope everyone noticed the dialogue that was copied from "Jackie Brown".

P.P.S. I'm neither a Communist nor an atheist, but I strongly defend the rights of people to have views different to my own.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tick the box "Notify me" to receive notification of replies.