I watched the movie Taken last night. Its currently the sixth most watched movie so far this year at the cineplex (just behind Paul Blart: Mall Cop) and was the most popluar movie at the video store late last month. Though it might not stay in the top ten, good chance most red-blooded Americans will see this movie sometime in 2009.
The movie is complete garbage (Liam Neelson, for real?) but is fascintating for what it is trying to say and how American audiences have for the most part responded to it. Made at the twillight of the GW Bush years and released during the first months of the Obama era, this movie is the perfect fantasy of the white/conservative backlash.
It has it all. France is dangerous and corrupt and full of turncoats (give me my freedom fries!) France is so vile that Liam Neelson’s character has to shoot the wife (who is not in on the whole conspiracy) of a former French coworker to get information.
The swarthy masses and their criminal networks (ultimately funded by a fat Arab) are a deep threat to the virginity of rich, white American teenage girls. There is a bunch of bad guys in this movie. Albanians, French Intelligence officers, random bussiness men, and Arabs. But the whole thing is funded by a Shiek who desires him some loving from an underage white teenager.
And most thriling of all, we have Dad or as the New York Times call him, Papa-Bear. Liam Neelson’s retired CIA agent, divorcee character is the perfect archetype of the 2009 backlash. Imagine the psychosis of Bill O’Reilly transplanted into a non-rogue Jason Bourne, Anyway, according to Taken, torture and vigilante violence works! Nothing like leaving a guy on a homemade electric chair with the on button pressed. Yes, the myth of redepemptive violence is well at hand here.
Oh yeah, here is a nice question from USA Today (I can’t believe I wrote that),
Since when did a couple of dozen brutal murders, torture and sex slavery qualify a movie for a PG-13 rating? Because of that inappropriate assessment by the MPAA, parents might be tempted to bring their 10-year-olds to see Taken. Don’t do it.What might be a guilty pleasure for adult fans of revenge thrillers could be deeply disturbing to an adolescent. At the very least, it might make a kid never want to travel abroad.
Since when did a couple of dozen brutal murders, torture and sex slavery qualify a movie for a PG-13 rating? Because of that inappropriate assessment by the MPAA, parents might be tempted to bring their 10-year-olds to see Taken. Don’t do it.