Film Critics Shut Their Eyes to Terrorism
Hollywood isn't the only community allergic to the notion of showing the horrors of terrorism on screen. Some movie critics don't want to see terrorists in any way, shape, or form there, either.
And by terrorists, we mean Islamo-fascists willing to die to take out as many innocents as possible. Not American troops indiscriminately killing civilians like in Brian De Palma's Redacted.
The latest proof comes courtesy of Traitor, a new movie starring Don Cheadle as a special operations officer who switches teams from the U.S. to the terrorists. The movie takes pains to portray Muslims in three dimensions, and goes so far as to allow Islamic radicals to explain some of the reasons for their barbarous behavior.
It's a kinder, gentler type of terrorism movie, but cinematic beggars can't be choosers.
Traitor is far from a blockbuster, either in quality or tickets sold ($7.9 million in its first weekend). Still, it's drawing some tortured reviews from the critical masses.
Let's start with the Washington Post's own Philip Kennicott. His Traitor review isn't content to merely slam the movie. He goes one step further, suggesting it shouldn't ever have been made.
Terrorism is a dubious subject for entertainment. The excesses of fear it inspires are corrosive to society. The prejudices that underlie those fears are not neutralized by hiring Don Cheadle. The things that are inherently exciting in a film about terrorism -- violence, torture, and the ticking clock that portends doom -- are the very sort of things that short-circuit our ability to think rationally about the threats we face.
Yes, he's saying audiences are too dumb to distinguish fiction from reality, and hinting that terrorism should be off limits for filmmakers. The legion of 24 fans won't like that one bit.
Entertainment Weekly offered its own disappointing spin in its review, which gave Traitor a "C" rating. Again, the audience is assumed to be slack-jawed yokels ready to take marching orders from Hollywood confection:
Many rainbow-colored actors ... contribute their faces in the cause of a paycheck (good for them) and an agitation of racist paranoia (not good for us).
But EW isn't finished: "The wait isn't worth it in this fear mongering, opportunistic political/spy thriller."