Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Republican Party's Suicide Squad: Is Hollywood Taking the Mickey out of the GOP?

by Nomad

The plot of the summer blockbuster, Suicide Squad, seems so familiar for some reason. 

As far as I can remember, I haven't done a film review on this blog. 
There are reasons for that. I have been called a snob when it comes to film preferences. The kinds of films I usually like are not what most people do.
"Quirky tastes," I think was how one person defined by film preferences. I wouldn't deny that.
So I lay off the film critiques.

The last film I sized up was as a budding journalist at my high school newspaper. I wrote that "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" was a better film than "Star Wars." ("What's up with that chick's hair??")
And that pretty much ended my career as a film reviewer. 
In any case, there's a new film about to be released that caught my attention.  Technically, since I haven't actually seen the film, this is actually more a comment on a film than a review of it.

Here's a synopsis of the new film Suicide Squad:
Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity.
It's yet another one of those films based on comic books for audiences that like that sort of thing. Frankly I am getting sick to death of them when there are so many more interesting stories to tell.
Just say it already. "Snob!"

Suicide Squad is directed by David Ayer  and Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, and Viola Davis. Suicide Squad opening later this summer on August 5th.
That's probably a good date because by that time. we shall all be needing something to take our minds off of the already-disturbing election year.

In the trailer, there's a scene presumably from the beginning.

One of the military officials, dining on squab or greasy steak in a posh (posh is always captured by subdued lighting and small tables) restaurants with his agency friends, refers to the main characters- anti-heroes- "the worst of the worst." 
The other diner, a woman in a professional attire, who is probably U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller, says, "Let's just say, we put them in a hole and threw away the hole."
"So they are the bad guys?" asks Admiral "Dense."
"Exactly," says the government lady. "And if anything goes wrong, we have built-in deniability."
"But what makes you think you can control them?"
She answers, "Because getting people to act against their own self-interest is what I do for a living."

That's a crowd-pleasing populist message and, I suspect, about as political as the film gets.

So, now the bad guys are playing the good guys (in their fashion)  and they've been unleashed upon the unsuspecting public, courtesy of the powers that be.
But nobody should be fooled. Calling villains heroes doesn't change their characters. Bad cowboys can wear white hats too. So, it's probably a decision born of desperation and one the intelligence officials will regret before the closing credits.

It has what less discerning audiences- and that's about 80% of cinema goers- crave. Entertainment running at break-neck speed without much depth to confuse us. Lots of explosions and preposterous plot twists. Nothing will happen that your average 8 year old can't explain. Scenes that make you go "Oh, oh Wow!" and not ideas that make you go "Hmmmm."

At the very least, it's a story with loads of lovely conflict. That's got to be a good thing.
No doubt they will first spend a lot of time squabbling between one another, all with their own personal agendas before they focus their minds on a greater goal. 

Personally, I can't see how that's going to work. Villans - arch or standard models- make fairly lousy team players. 
Clearly, there will be trust issues.
Villains, as a rule, tend to have messianic tendencies and that makes compromise quite a thankless task.
From the clip, we know that the Joker- played by Leto- is in the film but whether he is a bad guy or the really really bad guy, nobody is quite sure. 

If he is part of the so-called suicide squad, working with him isn't going to be easy. 
This is a man who spends a lot of free time thinking up clever but pointless punchlines.
Don't even get me started on the goofy hair, which is a trademarked look.
He is always entertaining, I grant you. The audience will laugh but at the same time be disgusted and horrified. That's the Joker's schtick. 
At heart, he is only a frustrated stand-up comic with a lot of free time on his hands and loads of purloined money. 

Don't be surprised if they resort to their old ways at the first opportunity. I strongly suspect, when push comes to shove (meaning the climax) they will all decide to betray one another and  be at each other's throats. 
We can only hope, literally. 

In terms of plot, most of the other details about the film are left to the imagination. There's a lot of unnecessary speculation online. Much of it could just be clever advanced publicity.

So, as I was reading about the new film, I suddenly got the feeling that I had watched this before. Granted, it's an idea that's been done to death in so many other films. 
But for some reason, it sounds so familiar... and struck me.     

Compare the synopsis of the Republican presidential race:
Assemble a team of dangerous and possibly insane political misfits, provide them with constant media coverage with hardly any critical scrutiny and send them off to win an election and defeat an insuperable Democratic candidate.
Oh dear. 
Not another film with a deep message.