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igcroush

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Posts posted by igcroush


  1. Hey All,

    I have been a lurker on these forums for a while, and through a mixture of frustration and maybe desperation, have finally been driven to post in hopes that other thinkers of faith can help me out.

     

    I talk a lot about the end of the film which is why most of this is marked as a spoiler.

     

    I have been haunted by this film since seeing 4 days ago, and have barely stopped thinking about it since then. I’ve been baffled that critics seem to largely disregard it--at best I’ve seen folks write it was an incredible 2 acts followed by a floppy 3rd. At risk of exclusivity, and my theory as to why it has largely fallen flat in the world of film criticism, is that I believe this is a film only a Christian can digest. Unlike most War films, this one does not seem to be about Man vs. Man, Man vs. War, Good vs. Evil, but about Wordliness vs. Other-worldliness. After the first battle in the film, there is a scene in which Don “Wardaddy” Colliers is by himself staring out over a field. More than in any other film I’ve seen, I felt desperate to know what he believes in--to whom or what is he praying?

     

    As I see it, there are two marks of light (very dim, but light nonetheless) that stand at either end of this film. The first is is the conversation “Bible” and Grady have with Norman as he joins their tank crew. They ask him “Are you Saved?” He says he goes to church. They insist that isn’t what they asked and repeat the question, as if to underscore that it’s not coming from anything on this earth. At the other end of the film is the final scene in the tank before the last battle in which “Bible” and Don are trading Bible verses and Don recites “He who loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Everything between these two markers is violent, morally bleak, glory-less and ultimate hopeless. The successes are usually at the cost of a character’s humanity and integrity. One of the scenes that stuck with me is Norman’s expressionless look as Don tells him that if he wants to make it through this thing he needs to do what Don says. We ask with Norman, “Is it worth it?”

     

    In his insistence on realism, I feel like David Ayer is forcing the issue: If you love this world, if this world is worth redeeming, than you need to account for this because it’s part of the world and it’s ugly as Hell. The final image also seems to confirm this. Norman, the sole survivor of the last battle, is walked to the back of an ambulance, while ignoring everything and everyone around him, including being pronounced a “Hero.” Perhaps I’m forcing some poetry here, but it seems intentional to me, but the camera then cuts between Norman staring through the dirty rear window (dare I say “a darkened glass?”) and what is conventionally known as a “God’s Eye Shot” of the bloodied and war-torn battlefield he is driving away from.

     

    I feel that part of the reason is isn’t appealing to more is that it completely denies terrestrial glory and finality.

    Am I totally misreading it?

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