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[personal profile] heron61
I saw Catch Me If You Can today. It is a truly excellent film that I deeply loved. It managed to avoid being either The Fugitive or a film like Silence of the Lambs, where the focus is on a hero tracking down a villain. Instead both the kid and the FBI agent were deeply real characters who were both rivals and friends. Best of all, there was no emphasis at all on what the kid did being wrong (which I liked, since defrauding large corporations is at worst a very minor wrong in my book :) Instead, it was far more about a contest between the two people.

[livejournal.com profile] reive has suggested that a new trend in films is for them to focus on the emotions of men. I now agree completely. In the 80s to the mid 90s there were films about the emotions of women and films about men that were either comedies or action/violence flicks. This film is neither. I'm uncertain how I feel about this trend, because allowing men to have emotions on film is obviously a good thing, but it's always straight white men and the examples I've seen (like this one) effectively had no women in it. Between that trend and the new and equally wretched series of trailers (ranging from a deeply horrid and juvenile comedy called Old School to some seriously wretched-looking horror films, I worry that we're headed back to the regressive nastiness 80s at a fast clip, only this time we are coming off of the pseudo-liberal 90s and not the actual liberality of the 70s, ugh.

In any case, I've only seen a handful of films that treated men and women's emotions equally and well and far too many of these were queer or otherwise seriously fringe films. Once again, TV manages to be more progressive - I definitely agree with various critiques that suggest that television often contains some of the cutting edge of modern thought while film is far more mainstream, simply because of the far greater risks involved in making an unsuccessful film, while TV programing is a never-ending quest to find something new and interesting to fill up the schedule.

After the film, [livejournal.com profile] imester and I talked more about The Two Towers, the more I think about that film, the more morally repugnant I find it. In the 70s, Sauron and his allies were interpreted as evil industrialists intent on conquering the world, destroying all beauty in their never-ending quest to destroy the natural world and turn all living things to their own purposes. Christopher Lee did a wonderful job of portraying that, but the rest of the film went completely against that. Instead, this is a books about total war and the other side has no motives other than genocide. This makes them both less interesting and (for me) makes the conflict seem far more like a cardboard construct. Then again, imester made the point that in the modern era, someone who wishes to conquer a land to enslave the people and wring everything of value out of the land is not an evil darklord, it's the CEO of a multinational corporation (which IMHO is generally a sub-species of darklord, but this was clearly not the message any of the large corporations putting up money for this film wished to see).

Instead, we have evil for evil's sake and armies of testosterone-filled men intent on protecting their women and children instead of the people and nature itself rising up against those who would despoil the land. I can definitely see why the war-mongers and right-wing zealots love this film. It clearly wasn't made by right-wing zealots, but it fits into their agenda quite nicely.

In any case, go see Catch Me If You Can, Tom Hanks does a typically wonderful job and Leonardo DiCaprio is actually very good. One odd note, was realizing about halfway through the film, that I'd actually seen the main character (Frank) speak on a talk show (Tonight Show) back in the late 70s. I remembered some of the stories he told on that show, when I saw versions of the same story in the film. Given that he only ended up doing 4 years in prison, he did quite well for himself. It deeply pleases me to know that non-violent crime against the system can pay extremely well.
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