U.S. Veteran tribute made for the 2008 Democratic convention.

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U.S. Veteran tribute made for the 2008 Democratic convention.

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propaganda | three word title | See All (2) »

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27 August 2008 (USA)  »

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Not worthy of Spielberg
2 January 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The question is not whether propaganda is good or bad in the abstract. The question is the ends to which a particular film is manipulating a particular audience. In the case of "A Timeless Call" the exceptional professional powers of Spielberg, Williams, and Hanks have been amassed and paid for in an attempt to distinguish the Democrats from the Republicans in their higher sense of moral purpose, and not incidentally to try to win over a quantity of the military-minded base that has traditionally gone Republican. In it's duplicitous sentimentality and money shots of people struggling to hold back tears it reminds me of nothing so much as Billy Tauzin's skillful deflection of all pertinent arguments in the health care debate to a teary-eyed defense of Republicans' greater love of their mothers. It reduces the horror and outrage of war to a simplistic message that, anticipating the argument Obama would make in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, exempts some wars (Democrat-sanctioned wars rather than their Republican counterpart, in this case) from the moral outrage with which anyone would otherwise justifiably react in the face of human brutality, suffering, and misery. As for the implied argument that any other form of deeper discussion must give way to to unqualified support for OUR soldiers for no other reason than they ARE ours: doesn't anyone stop to think that this has always been the lynch pin for mobilizing societies around the project of war, and that assent to this logic ultimately rationalizes ANY war? I personally don't see much difference in "A Timeless Call" and Leni Riefenstahl's glorification of Hitler's oh-so-noble, self-sacrificing national warriors in "Triumph of the Will." This is not a work worthy of the director of "Munich," a film which is not afraid to look at the troubling moral complexities involved in killing other human beings in unquestioning service to one's country.


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