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The Mass Media

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March 4, 2024
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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

It’s Simply OK

There are three fundamental types of movies. There are the good-those evocative pictures that excite and inspire you, that make you think and feel. There are the bad – those that are lacking all credentials to pass for a professional film, and evoke pessimism and laughter toward the producers who conspire with shear audacity to share this with an audience, purporting this to be a legitimate theater experience. Both these types of films (good and bad) are memorable for the emotions, either love or embarrassment for the human race, that they provoke. These are the films that you want to tell people about.

But then there are those other types of films, like “Body of Lies”, the ones that vacillate between those other two – neither that bad nor that good -as if they’re in some kind of Hollywood limbo. And those are the worst films. The absolute worst.

The action is good, along with the acting and visualization. But that’s all it ultimately comes down to – good. The script is OK (written by William Monahan, of “The Departed” fame and currently signed to write the hotly anticipated “Jurassic Park IV”), but not very compelling. It runs like a basic action film, with straightforward dialogue reined like a pack mule to propel the plot – a plot that is simply ok. This just isn’t “The Departed”. Monahan had great material to work with on that one, and it probably helped that Scorcese is brilliant at what he does.

Ridley Scott can direct a good action sequence, especially those in “Gladiator”. He doesn’t let down in this one. But there’s just something so lacking in this film. A heart that just isn’t there. He’s like a well-seasoned Michael Bay, but not full of crap.

My favorite part about this picture was the scenic nature of the Middle East. It’s like a cultural tour of this battleground frontier, which we should all attempt to familiarize ourselves with in order to understand their culture. I just started reading Dexter Filkins’s “The Forever War” to gain a better understanding of the war in the Middle East from the soldier’s perspective on both fronts. I would recommend that book, but not this movie.

But that isn’t to say that I’d plead with you to not see it. Especially if you’re a Leo DiCaprio fan – he’s good. He has a great screen presence. His character doesn’t have much going on, and is just a watered down nugget of his character from “The Departed” (in fact, much of this movie is just a watered down “The Departed”, wading in similar themes like double-crossing, lying, and identity searching, but never really dwelling too deep). Russell Crowe’s character is very boring, undeveloped, and kind of pointless in a way. He uses DiCaprio as a pawn in his attempt to control the conflict, but ultimately becomes a pawn of the filmmakers for DiCaprio’s character to further the plot.

There’s also an obnoxious love subplot. It barely evolves or has any true impact, but it at least doesn’t get much in the way – like that God-awful “Transformers” movie.

So go see it or don’t go see it. If you like action movies, you could do worse. It’s not too deep, but it ain’t too shallow either. But, honestly, in the post-“The Dark Knight” world, I think we’re now beholden to a higher standard of action film. Ridley Scott is a good director, I believe in him. Let’s hope that a higher caliber of action flicks will spell extinction for the Michael Bay’s of the world.