Thursday, May 10, 2007

Film: Collateral Damage & Stepford Wives

In an inspired piece of scheduling, TV3 and RTE contrived to allow hapless terrestial viewers to catch up with two real stinkers on Wednesday night. First up was Collateral Damage, which was quietly ditched in the aftermath of 9/11 on the basis that it would be insensitive to release a film dealing with a domestic (I mean the US of course) terror attack. Having seen the first hour of it, I can say it would have been insensitive to release it full stop given what ridiculous codswallop it is. Lacking any of the humour or operatic violence of his earlier efforts, Schwarzenegger, playing a fireman trying to avenge the death of his wife and son, is a spent force while John(s) Turturro and Leguizamo look like they have been forced to show up as payment for losing a large bet. The only thing worth noting is that in the wake of the attack by Colombian El Lobo, a representative from a Latin American solidarity group appears on TV to defend the right of Colombians to protect themselves against American influence in the region, a platform unlikely to have been afforded to an Islamic group after 9/11.
Tiring of Arnie's wholly unbelievable search for justice, I flicked over to Stepford Wives, which, despite my low expectations, was even worse. How to describe this bilge? It is more than just a leaden, consistently unfunny mix of Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives; something darker is afoot. I started to think of Jacques Barzun and Allan Bloom, prophets of a doomed Western civilisation. I used to dismiss them as conservative snobs, elitists who refused to acknowledge the pleasures of popular entertainment.But maybe they were right after all, maybe cultural relativism and irony is junk and in reality all that is left of modern culture is this awful, trashy, dead film.

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