The Oxford Dictionary says that subversion is the undermining of the power and authority of a government or institution. Ayah! He's started his essay with a dictionary definition. How sophomoric. But don't worry, I only quote it here so that I can tear it to pieces. And that bloody Oxford Dictionary - what the hell would they know?
Better we dig down to the derivation. If we were to transliterate the Latin base of subversion we'd get 'to turn from below'. But if a government was of the people, by the people, for the people, how would it be subversive if it was directed not by the pointy end of the pyramid but by the broad base below? Don't the people decide the course of a democracy? Ha ha ha ha. Sorry, that was just me being comedic. Let's just say that this use of 'below' isn't very instructive. Best we take it to mean 'beneath the surface', which is to say 'not perceived', which is to say 'hidden'. Now we're getting somewhere.
And why does the thing being subverted need to be a pyramid structure with 'power and authority' at the pointy end? Might not a culture be subverted? A culture isn't led. It evolves. And yet it too can be steered in a hidden fashion. Here I could go off on a long rant about television and advertising. But to hell with that, I've got a film to tear apart. I'll leap into it and then somehow cleverly tie it all up at the end.
Shooter's claim to fame was that it was 'subversive'. When it first came out the net was buzzing with chat about the film's subversive anti-government statements, themes and plot elements. Right there! On the big screen! Well I hate to tell you, but that's not how subversion works. Not in Hollywood. The 'subversion' on the big screen is a cover for the real subversion - the subversion of Western acuity.
Our hero as loyal servant
We meet our hero, the ever reliable swinging dick Mark Wahlberg, perched on a cliff top with a sniper rifle as he and his spotter partner shoot black people. Where are they? Who are they shooting? Why are they shooting them? Who cares? Our shooters aren't German. There will be no Nuremberg trial for them. In this American film, the fact that they blindly obeyed orders reflects well upon them. God forbid they should be condemned for it.
Foolishly our hero's partner has fished out a photo of his girlfriend. We all roll our eyes - that's him fucked. In spite of the fact that, tactically, the extraction of our hero and his partner's body would have been the simplest thing in the world, those leading the operation shut it all down and leave Mr Wahlberg to his fate. And haven't we seen this plot device over and over again? Don't worry that it makes no sense. Cut to the next scene.
Our hero as sceptic
Wahlberg now lives as a pony-tailed rugged mountain man with only his dog for company. Can anyone guess the dog's fate? Never mind that, what's going on with the art direction? Red meat for conspiracy theorists! Inside his cabin, right there next to his internet computer, a prominently displayed copy of the 911 Commission Report! Wow. And what's that on his computer? Is that zmag.org? Wow again.
But wait a minute. What do we really have here? The 911 report was a pathetic whitewash. If Wahlberg's character was really a conspiracy guy wouldn't he have a copy of, I don't know, David Ray Griffin's New Pearl Harbour? If I was to say that the 911 report here is merely product placement for the government cover-up would I be wrong? And then there's zmag.org. I briefly subscribed to zmag before I figured out it was a useless blind alley. Zmag is about as kosher as it gets - you could read everything on it and learn nothing at all. No surprise that the 'z' people are now spamming my email address. And then there's Wahlberg's line, 'Let's see what lies they're trying to sell us today'. What a curious thing to say. Why would a contrarian say this about what's ostensibly an alternative site? He sounds more like some kind of Rush Limbaugh fan.
Why don't I rewrite the scene? Wahlberg sits down at his computer. Behind him is a poster of the twin towers with the words 'Inside Job' in big letters. On the computer screen we see a flashy corporate news website. 'Yeah, I've had my fill of bullshit already,' says Wahlberg as he clicks the tab and whatreallyhappened.com pops up. 'Now, let's have some truth,' he says. There, that wasn't too difficult was it? Ha! In my dreams! In a Hollywood movie, this scene is an abject impossibility.
Our hero as patsy
Despite his government having left him behind to become a naked corpse tied to a truck, our hero is still a patriot. Go figure. When some obvious bad-attitude spooks led by Danny Glover visit him (and menace him with guns no less) all it takes is Glover's Congressional Medal of Honour to make him all gooey. Glover has an important mission and Wahlberg is the only man for the job.
Says Glover, 'The president is going to be shot and we want you, a pissed off loner with three names and a house full of guns, to scout out locations and otherwise behave like an assassin.'
Wahlberg, ever distrustful, hangs tough, 'Do you promise not to photograph me, set me up as the lone gunman and then shoot me?'
'Yep, scout's congressional medal of honour', says Glover.
'Hmm... that sounds pretty good,' says Wahlberg clearly impressed.
Oh wait, that was me re-writing the script again. The actual script features some half-baked waffle about how if we don't stop the assassin, tyrants might run the country. Gosh! Anything but that!
I'm going to be charitable (above and beyond the call of duty) and say that this film is not completely crap on account of its message (unintentional sure) that reading zmag obviously rots your brain. Well, that's the only reason I can come up with to explain Wahlberg climbing back into bed with such obvious bullshit artists. If only he'd spent time on wrh he'd have known better. Perhaps I should provide some other useful tips for any other brain-rotted zmag readers who might be here taking a break from their Noam Chomsky 'Conspiracy? What conspiracy?' Diet -
-When the cop comes into the interrogation room, puts a gun (or any other thing) on the table and tells you to check it out, you politely decline.
-When Peter Power from Visor Consultants calls you about a training exercise for London Transport and he wants you and your three buddies to play the role of 'backpackers', you politely decline.
-And when the government tells you that there are foreigners who 'hate us for our freedom' and that you should go overseas and kill them, you politely decline.
Or you can just tell them to go fuck themselves if you prefer. I'm good either way.
Our hero as avenger
Now it's time to kick arse. Or 'ass', in this case. (Sure enough, non-Americans think 'ass' sounds exactly as stupid as Americans think 'arse' sounds - funny that). Anyway, heads explode, limbs fly off and people are burned alive with napalm. All good clean fun and all thanks to our hero. It's a good thing we don't do body counts anymore because, assertions of mass graves aside, our hero maybe kills fifty times as many people as the bad guys. In fact now that I think about it, we see the bad guys in this film kill precisely one person.
Perhaps I should mention the bad guys. According to this film, made by the co-religionists of the people who own the US Fed, it's the oil industry! It's a popular theme, this mad notion that the White House is full of oil men, isn't it? But it's bullshit. Neither Bush nor Cheney have anything much to do with oil. But the oil industry makes a good scapegoat doesn't it? And speaking of Dick Cheney...
The film arrives at its crunch point. Our hero has the villainous oil man senator, Ned Beatty (cast for his resemblance to the aforementioned veep) right where he wants him. Wahlberg has shot all the senator's gunmen, freed his ex-partner's bosomy gal (now his), and holds in his hand a recording detailing the senator's wickedness and proving Wahlberg's innocence. And as the FBI arrive (that he himself called) he takes the precious recording and burns it. Go figure that one out. Whatever way you look at it, it doesn't make a lick of sense. In Hollywood films very little makes sense but this would have to be in the top ten list of stupidest things ever.
Here's the actual dialogue -
'What are you doing?' says Wahlberg's FBI renegade buddy.
'Saving our lives.'
'But that proved you were innocent!'
'Nobody out here is innocent. This stuff's plutonium. Nobody can handle it without dying. You hand it over to the authorities, it's just going to disappear, along with us,' Wahlberg says, dropping to his knees so that the FBI can take him away for his death-penalty trial.
Thanks Hollywood. Now we know that there's nothing to be done. Your only option is to hand things over to the authorities, and they're just going to kill you anyway. You may as well turn yourself in and cop the death penalty. Curses! Is there nothing we can do? If only we had some means of putting evidence into the public domain beyond the control of the government or the media. Imagine if we could connect our computers to each other and send incriminating files to lots of people and ask them to put the evidence on some kind of cyber page thing where thousands more could read it and in turn send it to others. Then it could never be taken back and everyone would know. We could call this mad invention the 'Digital Underground Headquarters', or as I like to say, 'Duh'!
God forbid Hollywood would have anyone understand the power of the internet. Attention whistle-blowers - Get a clue! Whatever you've got, put it in public. Don't wait, and don't try to strike some kind of Deborah Jean Palfrey deal. Honestly what was she thinking? Speaking of which, what's Sibel Edmond's story? She has very very damning evidence but since none of the media will do her justice, she's not going to tell. God spare me, you'd think the internet had never been invented. Anyway, with all her dangerous information I expect the government will whack her too. Sooner or later. One of these days. Or maybe not. Maybe she's as real as this stupid movie.
Never mind that. It seems Wahlberg was right to hand himself over to the FBI. They listen closely and are very impressed that the gun used to frame him didn't have a functioning firing pin. Not only do they free him but they tell the uber-connected spook Glover to go fuck himself. Ha ha ha ha. What fine comedy. Both Lt. Col. Philip Zack and Stephen J Hatfill laughed their heads off. Never mind that the former is untouchable and the latter had his life destroyed. Both of them get the gag.
Here's how it works. If a democracy is what it says it is (ie. a rule of the people) then it follows that to openly lay bare falsehood and dispel ignorance amongst the people cannot be subversion. In truth it's a reinforcement, by way of knowledge, of the power and authority of those who rule. Us. Did you see the full stop (period) there? It's important.
Most certainly there is subversion out there. You can see it every time you turn on the TV. The bloc-media is, perpetually and without exception, subverting our ability to rule ourselves by keeping us in a state of ignorance. Without knowledge, such as the fact that the Reserve Banks of the world are privately owned, how can we have any sensible discussion about what's best for the people? Hollywood and the media (same same) exist to keep us in a state of ignorance so that democracy may be subverted and a tiny hidden elite may steer us as suits them and them alone.
For the sake of posterity, why don't I also rewrite Wahlberg's idiot speech to the senator?
'And you know what senator? This recording here that you were so keen to get your hands on? You're too late. I've already sent it to whatreallyhappened, uruknet, truthseeker and two hundred other websites. Hell, I even sent it to zmag! The whole thing took me five minutes and a buck fifty at an internet cafe. The mainstream media have it too, and with the push from the alternative sites, even they won't be able to ignore it. You're so fucked I ain't even going to bother shooting you.'
Cinema of nobody - the stuff that dreams are made of!
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Following on from that chat at the church, I just thought I'd finish up here since we're talking flicks. And Kurosawa, sure. I'm a monster fan. I've seen Seven Samurai twenty times maybe. I'm still rolling it around in my head as a subject for here but I don't know what to do with it.
Funny you should mention 'if...' I saw it two weeks ago for the first time. Somehow I always missed it back in my art-house frequenting days. Otherwise I think I prefer Anderson in delirious mode like with Brittania Hospital. Mind you, I haven't seen it in twenty years so I might change my mind. Otherwise I got This Sporting Life in the backlog of flicks to watch. And Tarkovsky. Believe it or not I bought his boxed set and haven't watched a single one yet. One day - if I could tear myself away from the keyboard.
If you want a lot of traffic, do a review of the DARK KNIGHT!
I heard its one of the best movies of this decade.
here is a link if ur too cheap like i am.
"Go to player's settings. Disable Hardware acceleration to watch move in full screen."
I found a better link for BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT. You would get a lot of traffic if you did a review about this movie. No one really cares about "Shooter" and I have never heard of it until today.
Hey African Warrior,
You're like the guy who pops into the cafe week after week to complain about the coffee, ha ha.
My problem is that the cinema is in the next town over, which is to say distant, and I'm poor and object to paying $15 for a flick. I only really watch movies on DVD or on the telly and subsequently I only ever review flicks that are old already. And that's how it's going to be! Yoroshiku.
"IGNORE THE PREVIOUS LINKS! THIS IS THE BEST LINK! IT HAS ALL LINKS TO THE MOVIE!"
NOBODY, I would check it out. I just saw the Batman movie and I give it 9/10. Its the Greatest Super hero film of all time. (in my opinion)
Hey "African Warrior" STOP trying to get Nobody in trouble for watching online movies.(piracy)
Hey "Nobody" I recently saw the Dark Kight(batman) in theatre, its actually the best movie Holly-Wood has come up with in a long time. I would watch it because its one of those record-breaking movies like Spiderman, Pirates of the Caribbeans and Titanic.
A great scene is when there are two ships with bombs. One has criminals and the other has normal people. The joker gives everyone in each ship a remote detonator. He says who ever detonates the other will save themselves. You must see it Mr. Nobody. Only Holly-Wood can come up with bull sh^t like this. THE JOKER DID IT PROVE SOMETHING. HE WAS RIGHT! JOKER RULES!
Holy shit! I just scrolled down the page to get to the comments section. Did I really write this much about this movie? Nuts! What was I thinking of?
I have nothing against piracy per se. I lived in China for years. And there, piracy is all you got. But I can't say I've ever downloaded a pirate from the internet. On the net, whatever you do lasts forever. I'll leave the links here since they provide nothing that couldn't be found on google.
Otherwise, (adopt stern official voice here) - I Do Not Support Internet Piracy. I'm with Nancy Reagan. And not just for drugs but any other thing the government wants you to do - Just Say No! There, I've covered my arse. Yoroshiku.
Dark Knight sucked. I am sick of the Hollywood "good vs bad" theme. All they did was blow up stuff like buildings, and vehicles.
Don't get me wrong, it broke single-day record and will likely set other records. Overall a 7/10.
Brilliant review of Shooter. Sentiments are right on the money, as are your observations about subversion and Hollywood Style resistance against the all consuming cycle of lies in which we find ourselves. Great job!
Thank you sir, you are too kind.
Would you be any relation to the Maturin who opened the gunner's skull, roused out his brains, and set them to rights?
If I speak in riddles, apologies. One's always on the lookout for another O'Brian fan. There are so few of them you see...
I think you covered everything there. :p
Do one on a series of 24, itll be HUGE!
Some things are just too obvious, if you know what I mean. Believe it or not, before I wised up I actually thought that 24 was cool. Man, I shake my head at who stupid I was. But then again, me and everybody.
Otherwise, the other aspect to this is the fact that I'd have to watch it all again (to take notes etc) and I don't know if I could bear it. Twenty four one hour episodes! God spare me!
I also thought 24 was cool initially. Maybe it was better disguised in the earlier series (Im not really minded to rewatch them to check). It got a lot less "subtle" later.
Just remember folks, torture provides valuable information and is the only available option when a bomb is ticking!
24? Done! Next movie...
Thanks a Bunch! After your scathing comentary I felt that I just had to see this flick.
Well after going to the vidio store and being told that they no longer rented flicks in the Beta format as it had lost it's market value just after the last ice age had passed. Whoda Thunk it? Anyhoos no VHS either so after the guffaws and eye rolls I was told that if I wanted to view this fine movie I would have to buy a DVD player which I did, Cost me $20.00 and another $5.00 for the DVD.
All I can say is this piece of crap had more holes in it than kitchen sieve.
Just gotta love it when I see someone fire a fifty cal McMillan and the beast has no muzzle flash or recoil, I say this simply because when in a differant life every time I fired one of those puppys it hurt like hell and that was with a muzzle brake and a hydrolic stock, the ones in the film had neither.
At any rate I started to make a list of ALL of the fuckups in this piece of trash but had to quit after my hand cramped up from all of the writing.
So YOU owe me $25.00 and seeing you is such a sweet fellow I'll trust yuh and except a personal check.
Ha! The joke's on you mate! I don't have a bank account. No credit cards, no nothing.
And twenty bucks for a DVD player? Wow, they're so cheap. I hope you bought a brand X thing from China. I've got one (in storage now) and it's unbeatable.
The Chinese you see, are uninterested in playing along with those bullshit 'Digital Millenium' rules governing DVD's. Subsequently with my Chinese machine I am not subject to FBI warnings, commercials, or that tiresome Dolby ad. Everyone else is forced to watch them, but me, I blitz 'em.
Three cheers for the Chinese.
As for technical errors, don't get me started. Having sat through many, many living room movie-watching sessions with the old man (ex-military) I grew used to movies being torn apart. To be honest they get almost nothing right.
Here's a rule - whenever you see orange flame come from an explosion, you are seeing gasoline. Only gasoline makes orange flames like that. When you see a house explode and orange flames shoot out the window it's because they have garbage bags full of gasoline inside the windows.
To be honest though, errors like this are soooo common I don't even bother noting it.
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