2 Stars Movies

The Hunt is weak tea, at a time that calls for strong coffee

I watched Craig Zobel’s The Hunt mostly out of curiosity, to see what the red hats were so worked up about. Turns out it is not what the American fascists assumed, but neither is it otherwise. There is potential for satire somewhere in the premise, but it’s too confused and unfocused to be anything other than just more both-sides-ism. Besides, Kevin Smith already covered similar territory in 2011 with Red State.

The Hunt‘s gentle caricature of Trumpism is weak tea, at a time that calls for strong coffee. The movie seems more interested in taking shots against political correctness — a pitifully tired target in 2020. Does anyone find it funny anymore that it’s polite to try to refer to people as they identify, and not how someone else identifies them? This is especially infuriating when Trumpism is currently leading to police rioting in the streets, government inaction while a pandemic is killing thousands, a resurgence of overt racism, and eager submission to authoritarianism. But no, let’s make jokes about how libtards like NPR, har har.

The Hunt seems to equate liberalism with wealth, which looks just plain retrograde at a time when Americans are marching in the streets for equality and to please not to be murdered by Officer Friendly. If I were to stretch and strain to give this movie more credit that it deserves, perhaps the point is to frame America’s current divisions as primarily class driven, with ideology as performative cloaking. But I doubt it’s being that clever.

Also, I must say the shared DNA with Donnie Darko was unexpected, and Hillary Swank and Betty Gilpin are superstars that deserve better showcases than this.

3 Stars Movies

Elisabeth Moss has a villain problem in The Invisible Man

For a movie named after the antagonist, Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man has a villain problem.

At one point, Cecelia (Elisabeth Moss) asks an interesting question: her husband is famous and wealthy, and can have anyone — so why her? In one question, she essentially admits her longstanding insecurity at having a handsome rich man choose her for marriage, and also gets at the more pressing anxiety: why continue to fixate on her after the end of everything? Why go to such extreme lengths to torture and entrap her? Why not just let her go?

The movie’s answer seems to simply be: because he’s crazy. He’s not exactly like the Joker in The Dark Knight, who wants to watch the world burn just for the sake of it, but more like the loony villain in Skyfall whose absurdly complex revenge scheme isn’t because he’s diabolically clever but because he’s just plain nuts.

Here’s a free thesis idea for film theory students: compare/contrast movies about men who may or may not be going insane (Shutter Island, Shock Corridor, Jacob’s Ladder), vs. those about women (Repulsion, Unsane, Horse Girl).

Forget about the advanced optics in the invisibility suit – the real money must be in that amazing floorboard-creaking-prevention tech, right?

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