In 2006, more Americans would vote for a black than an atheist for presidency. Nothing strange in that. In 2006, with the on-going Iraq war and the massive tensions between Western and Islamic values, more Americans would vote for a Muslim than an atheist. Now THAT is alarming.
I'm not making a statement against Muslims here. I'm just shocked that, in spite of the Islamophobia, in spite of the radical fundamentalists in (nuclear?) Iran, in spite of the Muslims holding the no. 1 spot as Villains in movies, news and culture, Americans still think atheists are more untrustworthy.
This is one of Contact's points. Without spoiling anything, it's safe to say that Jodie Foster's character is held back thanks to her (non)-belief. Instead, the good stuff goes to the believer, and in a spot of irony, it's also lost thanks to a believer. When I first saw Contact, I didn't find it very realistic that all the religious people would be more content with choosing a contending religion instead of a neutral part, but the numbers above stumps me.
All politics aside, Contact is a great movie. The first scene sets the scope perfectly and beautifully. Some scenes are very, very tense, thankfully avoiding the Hollywood Happy Music and instead going for a subtle, dramatic and threatening score.
This and Silence of the Lambs will always be the two best Jodie Foster movies. Even though she is a great actress, I can't believe she will ever top this. She is nicely balanced by Matthew McConaughey, who, coincidentally, is a man of faith. Jake Busey plays a truly unsettling character, Joseph, who shows the greatest sides of blind faith. We even get to see some of William Fichtner, which I always consider a bonus in a movie.
The plot is grand, to say the least. Carl Sagan always was a man of visions and even though I have not read the book, I can feel the scope and scale of it is very Sagan. Some people mean that Sagan's strong anti-religious stance in the book is diluted in the movie, which may or may not be true. Personally, I think a movie that wants to open a dialog is worth more than one dismissing the other idea all together.
When all's said and done, Contact is one of the greatest science-fiction movies ever made, in the genre's purest form. People who dislike Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien and the like, should not worry; Contact is thoughtful and more about humanity than anything else. It's rating here at IMDb, an American site, reinforces the aforementioned figures. Had it been the same movie with a pro-religious message, I think this would have been high up in the top 250, and I hope that one day it will be.
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