Monday, October 6, 2008

Babylon AD.

The quality of a film has nothing to do with the depth of analysis achievable on it. Every film ever made sheds light on its makers and the world they lived in. Of course, good ones usually make it easier, since their text and subtext are mostly intentional...
The idea of Mathieu Kassovitz directing Vin Diesel sounds a lot like John Woo directing Jean-Claude Van Damme, but since the former is at least not doing it in Hollywood, he does not achieve the latter's amazing levels of blandness. He's trying, though. The tropes are mostly comic book clichés: Murderous religion, viral warfare, artificial intelligence as a synonym for omniscience (go on, imagine how omniscient you would be, if you sucked up all of the Internet...w00t, 3133t!), the former communist block as an unrelieved zone of cruelty, despair and disrepair, from Serbia to Vladivostok. "A holiday in other people's misery." (Sex Pistols). Wallow, folks, wallow. Then go back to your 2.5 kids and cars in suburbia and feel the relief wash over you.
One of the messages here might be the loneliness and uselessness of the ultimate fighting man, with just the forlorn hope of protecting women and children as the light at the end of the tunnel. First they plunge the world into a testosterone-driven nightmare and then they offer to protect the cutest ones from it. From them, in effect.
Here Vin Diesel plays a disconnected, disillusioned man, sleepwalking even through the action scenes as if he had been there too often. That's life: As soon as we start being competent, it becomes pointless.
Ah well, perhaps one should see this film twenty years from now to see all the quaint obsessions of the noughties standing out in stark contrast, whatever they are. My guesses: Fears of unexplained bomb massacres, unexplained because we fear that understanding the enemy will make us like him, fears of a science drafted into producing goods we can't afford and making us obsolete in the process, fears of a backlash from these obsolescents. Is it just me or is the whole world succumbing to panic disorder?

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