We went to see Lone Survivor last night and then we came home and I watched Canada-USA in the hockey. And while you may think the two have nothing to do with each other, let me explain.
In the hockey, Canada won it by the soccer score of 1-0. That Channel 10 chose to show the Koreans winning the speed skating while the only goal was scored took some of the pleasure away but nice to see most of the game anyway. Sunday it’s Canada v Sweden for the Gold Medal.
And then there was Lone Survivor, the most nail-biting film of the year, as good as any movie I’ve seen over the past twelve months. The subject matter, though, has created quite a divide within the US. This is what the film is about.
LONE SURVIVOR, starring Mark Wahlberg, tells the story of four Navy SEALs on an ill-fated covert mission to neutralize a high-level Taliban operative who are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan.
Given the description, you will not be surprised to hear that so far as Academy Awards and other such laurels go, nothing at all. It is a major success across the Red States of America but goes nowhere in the blue states. And this is why I think that is. It is because you can only enjoy the movie if you side with the Americans. Everyone comes to the cinema with their politics fully engaged, specially a film such as this. For me and those I went with, we side with the Americans. The movie therefore completely works. For blue state America, however, it doesn’t work at all. They are disengaged and, I fear, even wish America’s enemies success. The movie is therefore an ordeal for those of a different view. This is from the review at The Washington Post:
What’s missing here is something, or rather, someone, to care about. Written and directed by Peter Berg (“Battleship”), the film presumes our emotional investment in Luttrell and his fellow soldiers’ mission, simply by virtue of — well, it’s never quite clear what. The questions of who exactly Shah is, other than one of many murderous thugs, and why we should care so deeply about his fate, is never really explained in a way that grabs the imagination.
The film must have been an endless torment to him. It’s only a film but if your instincts are not with the Americans then the film is lost on you. You are either with Team USA or you are not. In the war in Afghanistan, blue state America is not.
So when I come home to watch the hockey, no longer was I with Team USA. I have ancient views and attitudes that I bring along with. Not quite like a Canada-USSR match of days of yore but fully engaged. And so in this film, as in so many other ways, the fifth column of Americans who were born and raised in our culture but hate it and wish to see it fail, have their attitudes ingrained at such depth that it is hard to think what could ever save us now.