A reader in Amsterdam wrote to remonstrate with me because my positive review of the film Act of Valor ignored the evil Jew character and thus missed the film’s anti-semitic message. This is a fair criticism: I meant to mention this scene but, having thought it through to my own satisfaction, neglected to include my thoughts in the blog.
This is a small spoiler. It turns out the Islamist plot against America that powers the movie is being financed, irony of ironies, by a Jewish guy. When I saw this reveal, my jaw dropped and my first thought was: “You have got to be kidding me!” Was the movie selling some sort of Elders of Zion scenario where the Jews financed everything, including the work of those dedicated to wiping them off the face of the earth?
On reflection (and after consulting with the mighty and also all-knowing John Nolte at Big Hollywood), I came to feel that this was not the intent of the film. Rather I thought it was a ham-handed attempt to avoid the appearance of Islamophobia and give the picture some sort of moral complexity. Often, as we know, it’s the person who is NOT bigoted who says the most awkward thing — “Boy, that black gymnast is swinging around like a monkey!” — because he hasn’t got the implied slur in his mind. I believe that to be the case here.
Still, it was unfortunate, not to say stupid, to include the scene. I’m not interested in racial “sensitivity” in art, but I can’t believe Jewish funding of Islamic terror is representative of reality any more than the occasional crime by a US soldier is representative of the military (as it is made to seem in such ugly films as In The Valley of Elah and Redaction). In a world in which the anti-semitic Tsarist forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion can be purchased in many bookstores in the Islamic world, and where “anti Zionism” forms a respectable mask for the oldest hatred in western universities and churches, a little care in these matters would not go amiss.
So — my verdict is that this is a good action film with stirring patriotism, but the filmmakers definitely made a bad choice which could easily be misinterpreted by viewers of good will.
I’d love to hear someone involved in the film speak about this.