Mr Sausage wrote:
Tho' I think there's no reason this thread should've been made--I doubt it'll get a discussion out of this forum--I applaud paranoid knight for putting in the effort, especially on this forum, which can bare its teeth pretty easily. Not everyone's so willing to put themselves in the thankless position of defending a Zack Snyder movie in intelligent terms.
Oh, I'll take that opening, sir. I am after all, as some here know, more than willing to go to bat for much otherwise determined to be indefensible (and for that matter willing to criticize much determined to be virtually unassailable--i.e. the stupefyingly overrated Certified Copy
, about which more elsewhere).
Anyway, I still have not had the opportunity to see this yet but FB friend Matthew David Wilder (who I would wager knows as much about movies as just about anyone here) has and describes it as the Celine and Julie Go Boating
of action blockbusters. The rest of his response is too good not to re-post, especially given the prevalent attitude here:
SUCKER is a Rivettean movie about performance that exists on more parallel but maybe simultaneous levels than INCEPTION. It's closer to something like INLAND EMPIRE. Its main subjects are how the mind deals with trauma--...does it make war, art, love, porn, or just cash? The other subject is that corny 80s trope, the Male Gaze, which gets a workout here like no other movie I can think of. Snyder extends Quentin's DEATHPROOF gag of cutting away from the hot striptease/lapdance into a movie-length trope: whenever the heroine is forced to perform, like Suelynn Gay in NASHVILLE, we beam into a parallel, IMAX-y, tentpole, action-whiz-bang universe as a form of sublimation.
For my own part, I have, as I stated earlier, been looking foward to this for quite awhile based on the trailers. I'm attracted to the conflagration of what appears to be an unhinged, even vaguely psychotic, wallowing in excessive overabundnace and ADHD sensory stimuli combined with Snyder's relentless drive to iconicize everything in sight (his sense of the self-made and sustained mythic). Whether he fully comprehends the implications of that, along with what I gather are some rather heavy handed politics applied equally so, almost doesn't matter. If it works a picture like this reflects back something of its audience's own derangement of the senses and becomes, if not a full bodied critique, than a kind of transformative element in the mix, an exercise in restructuring existing parameters and reconceiving the assumptions of the body politic itself, especially as regards the possibilities and meanings available to form and function. The very fact that the dam has burst creating a level playing field for all manner of inhabitants of generally differentiated pop landscapes (whatever is most immediately available to the psyche) should tell us something about what is really important here, i.e. the nurturing of endless stimulation as an end to itself, made justifiable under the banner of a superficially rendered ode to indivdual empowerment. It may very well all be seen to be the elevating of the trite but this critique is inadequate in the face of the idea that this is the whole world for someone, a lived reality participated in to whatever degree prevailing society makes possible. What may have been qualitatively trite at one cultural moment becomes, by default, something else as it takes on the burden of multiple roles.
I'm also very interested in the coping device aspect Wilder mentions above and that has been little discussed it seems. When I saw the trailer I thought immediately of the way that stuff is implemented in Bharadwaj's Closet Land
. Here it would seem to get an ill fitting pop makeover but the very gauche nature of that move has its own implications and suggestions and not simply about Snyder but rather a culture disinterested in making fine tuned distinctions of what merits socially acceptable couth or "appropriate" treatment. There's also the intriguing idea (always intrguing to me) of the possibilities of meaning for the fantasy experience itself beyond the obvious strategies involved which may have motivated it. And to what degree is any given fantasy/creative vision delimited or self-restricted by that source inspiration?
As far as predicting what sorts of films should or likely will be discussed here--well, I guess I chafe a bit from that assumption of merit. I realize such things here and elsewhere are ultimately subjective determinations enforced by consensus, but given that a film like Inception
(which I found numbing and deadening) is discussed for pages on end one could hope that a similar willingness to consider the values in alternative pop styles and forms is also possible.
Hopefully ace theorist Steven Shaviro will weigh in on this one as well given his predisposition toward hyperkinetic or bombastic cinema of heightened affect (Black Swan
, the films of Neveldine/Taylor) and his recent aggressive populist shift.
Oh, and as to Michael Bay, the Transformers
films are exactly what he should be doing and I don't mean that as criticism.