This isn’t really a proper review, just my own rantings on the subject.
I was all excited to watch Inception tonight…but it was a little too chaotic for my parents, so we watched Taking Chance instead. It is the story of a Marine who volunteers to take the body or “remains” (as they say in the movie) from the East Coast to a little town in Montana.
As I said on Facebook, it was a heartbreaking movie. Why? Because the message was so clear: War is good. War is noble. Go sacrifice your life for the “greater good,” give up your individuality, your uniqueness, and join the ranks of others who must give all, for our “interests.” And when you die, you’ll come home a hero and everyone at the airports will pause as your coffin is being carried by. And the VFW groups will hold parties in your honor. And hundreds of people will come to your funeral. Everyone will admire your courage and bravery.
What really annoyed me is how they never showed the Marine’s face. Now, come on…Hollywood has no qualms whatsoever when it comes to obscenities (I’m using this in the classic Greek sense, of things that ought to stay “off scene” because they are too graphic or violent) and moviemakers never flinch when it comes to portraying blood and guts and gore. But no, when it is a soldier we can’t do that! We’ll only give some beautiful shots of his crisp and bright uniform, his shiny buttons and pure white gloves. But not his face, because after all, the government said it was not recommended for viewing. Since when does Hollywood care if things are too terrible to be viewed? But no, if young people saw the ugliness and the violence, they might not want to join the military! And then what good would the movie be?
So throughout the whole movie, every time the casket was being transported, people would stop and put their hands over their hearts. Airport workers stopped. Passengers on the planes stopped. Cars slowed down for them on the road. Come on? Really? That’s not realistic, it doesn’t seem. It is like everyone “sensed” something special and stopped. Since when does that happen in real life? Now I know, I don’t exactly get around much, but it just doesn’t seem right. Everyone was bending over backwards to honor this Marine. It seems that in real life people would just tend to ignore a person in uniform, treat them like everyone else, or say something negative to the Marine…if they were one of those awful leftist anti-war people (just being sarcastic…).
And none of the military officers seemed to understand the futility and tragedy of the war. Oh yeah, this is based on a true story of a soldier in the War in Iraq. That’s the specific war we’re talking about, Bush’s war. Anyways, either everyone was proud of their “service” or regretted that they had not given more to the cause. I think that in real life veterans come back either haunted by their experiences or disillusioned by the reality of war. There was none of that in this movie.
And I don’t think the government gives each fallen soldier such elaborate and detailed attention. It was really quite ridiculous to think of the all time spent on one body and coffin, when you multiply that by all the deaths that occur each month in the war. No wonder we’re not winning the war, everyone is too busy escorting caskets home!
However, I don’t want this to sound harsh or ungrateful. I have deep respect for anyone who is willing to give their lives in any way. I’m not that brave. The tragedy is that these poor souls got caught up in this great net of power struggles and government interests. This trap is deadly for many. And for those who live, the scars haunt them forever. The tragedy is that anyone has given their life for such a futile purpose. I mourn with the family of those who have fallen. I mourn so much for the dead that I wish to find a way to keep others from that fate. Instead of saying, “It is a terrible tragedy that Chance died. He was a good young man, he will be deeply missed. Now I’m going to go over there too” (in the movie Chance’s sister and her fiancee were both in the military) I say, “It is a terrible tragedy that Chance died. He was a good young man, he will be deeply missed. Let’s keep others from dying there as well. Let’s not go on repeating this tragedy ad infinitum, but stop the killing and stop the hatred.”
There is a very fine line between government-worship and disrespect for those who have died in the war. I wish to maintain a balance between opposing a pointless war and respecting the individuals who gave their all, no matter what their cause.
So I told my dad we need a good Ron Paul speech (I was thinking of the neat remix of his speech to Congress, “What If?”) to straighten things out again.