Denzel, on the other hand, plays a traitorous dirtbag, sympathetic as the script and the performance try to make him. Alienated by the misdeeds of Washington DC (and who isn’t — though why these left-wingers always pick on the left wing CIA is beyond me!), he is selling information to the worst possible actors — Iran, China, anyone who’ll pay him. When he comes into possession of a list of western espionage crimes compiled by the Israelis for blackmail purposes (because, as every left-winger knows, the Jews secretly run everything), the CIA tries to stop him at all costs. When he accuses Reynolds of wrapping himself in the flag, Reynolds has no response whatsoever. One Condor-like line would have changed everything here: “It’s a good flag,” for instance. Though Washington ultimately urges Reynolds, “Be better than me,” there’s no sense that that better might include loyalty to one’s freer-than-average country.
No. This is Condor for the Julian Assange generation. There’s no loyalty to anything but the hero’s own sense of virtue and nobility. Whereas Redford exposes the CIA because he’s forced to — it’s his only chance to save his own life — Reynolds actually puts his life in danger to expose the agency. He would have been safer working through channels to right any wrongs that had been done, but that would imply trust in the American system, and we wouldn’t want that. There’s not even any thought that the CIA may have overstepped its bounds for good and noble purposes, or to keep the world safe. Nah. That couldn’t happen.
This is leftist American entertainment with an eye on the international market — a market that would gladly root for us if we’d only let it (witness the overseas success of the patriotic Avengers), but which is instead fed a steady diet of self-hatred and preening cosmopolitanism.
I wonder: in the Post-American imagination of the left, what do they think will replace western nation-states with their libertarian traditions and constitutions? The UN? With its leadership of scoundrels, murderers and unelected high rollers? An inherently virtuous international community singing Kumbaya? A John Lennon utopia? Or better yet a Michael Bloomberg utopia? Imagine there’s no soda! It’s easy if you try!
They don’t know. They just know we’re bad. Which raises another question. How can you tell stories about heroes, if you don’t really know what they’re fighting for?