Skip to main content

Review: The Fourth Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones 4 was very sad. The whole thing was flooded with dusk - a farewell to the boys of summer, Spielberg and Lucas, and Harrison Ford, who brought us so many great sci-fi and adventure classics.

Together, they have given the world much unreconstructed pleasure, and here, again, they revisited their key themes, of Americana, innocence, boys-into-men (and their fear of women and foreign entanglements) - and, of course, aliens wanting to return home. Most critics have noted that Ford looks and acts old - which is the case - and it is shocking, indeed, how grizzled, even (Ryder?) haggard, he does look - surely, that is the point. Rather than conceal the force of age from the fourth film, then, it seems a decision was made to foreground the idea of Time. Shakespearean as this is, it's apt, and adds a dimension to the film that, at first glance, is missing: namely, quality.

The movie feels half-baked. Then, on reflection, one reminds oneself that these are movies paying homage to the old cliffhangers of yore, and that this one, set in 1957, is a homage, even on top of that pastiche-fed floor, to B-movies, or worse. So, the grains of time, and time's losses and consequences, from atomic theory (and practice), to political shifts, to history itself (the struggle between West and East), is all put in a longer, deeper perspective - an ancient civilization, now merely relics, glows with future promise, if change can appear. Notably, the film is strangely menacing - the forces at the end are neither E.T. nor are they "Alien" - but something else - highly intelligent collectors, neutral, and ultimately above human concerns. On the subject of Blanchett's faux Ruskie babe in the ultra-cool uniform - well, you either "get" such things, or you don't. Watching this, I felt old - I felt a generation was turning a page.

I felt Indy's travels in my bones. Spielberg has made us excavate ourselves, all our own thoughts about all our American (read: Western capitalist) yesterdays - from greasers, to milkshakes, to the space race, to the McCarthy witch hunts - and recognize how these were built on force, on violence, on tragedy. At the end (the beginning begins out West, in a cheeky gopher mound echoing the mountain from Close Encounters) we get a comedic ending - a wedding - and are asked to bless this union. Problematic, tricky, and hard to do, given what's come before (Hiroshima and amour, indeed) - but that's the difficult American balancing act, or rather confidence trick - love our Elvis, forgive our Nam etc. - and Spielberg's been one of the masters of it, since Jaws.
1 comment

Popular posts from this blog

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

SEXTON SHORTLIST!

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!