Even liberal movie critic Richard Roeper notices Hollywood’s penchant for trashing the U.S. and our soldiers in recapping the films featured at this year’s Toronto Film Festival…but they still love the troops:
“Rendition” — Stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon. Focuses on U.S. customs agents detaining and torturing suspected terrorists in foreign prisons.
“In the Valley of Elah” — Directed by Paul Haggis (“Crash”) and starring Oscar winners Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon, this story is based in part on a magazine story about an Iraq war veteran who returns home and is murdered by a fellow veteran.
“Redacted” — Brian de Palma’s brutal, gut-churning interpretation of a real-life incident in which four American soldiers raped and killed a 14-year-old Iraqi girl. (Three are serving 90-years-plus sentences; a fourth faces a criminal trial.)
“The Battle for Haditha” — Nick Broomfield’s docudrama about the killing of two dozen Iraqis, including children, by U.S. Marines, allegedly as revenge for the killing of an American soldier.
I admire the skills of filmmakers such as Haggis and Gavin Hood, the director of “Rendition.” The themes and issues they’re exploring are of vital importance.
But nearly every film we’ve seen so far about the Iraq war reinforces the conservatives’ prevailing view of “liberal Hollywood.” (Note: Many of these movies are foreign-financed, but the mostly American stars and directors are the authors and faces of the films.)
Of course we shouldn’t shirk from the atrocities, alleged and confirmed, committed by our side. But would it be so horrible to make a film showing American soldiers performing genuine heroics? Or how about a film that shines the harsh spotlight on the administration that so badly botched the war and especially the “post-war” efforts?
Maybe we’ll eventually see such movies. In the meantime, even though some of this is Oscar-quality work, in terms of subject matter, Hollywood is giving the Fox News crowd some fastballs right down the middle.
The answer to Roeper’s question as to why more films aren’t being made focusing on the Bush administration’s policies is clear: it’s more fun to depict an American soldier raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl.
The last time a movie was made about President Bush, it featured his fictional assassination. Anything less would just be boring.
And no, we won’t see a movie showing “American soldiers performing genuine heroics” because in Hollywood’s eyes our soldiers are incapable of doing good, and the movies will continually reflect that. But don’t worry, they really do love our troops. They love our troops.