Sunday, December 08, 2002

and at 7:59 pm eastern time i was sitting, highly anticipatory as our fearless leader would say, eyes peeled and ready to experience hbo's "live from baghdad." i need to see it again; but it's worth a watch. most anything is worth a watch though, so i'll tell you here what you really should make an effort to see: the first five minutes. scene of middle easterners in a movie theater, watching the kevin bacon film "tremors." (i was horrified already. where can this be going except to the obvious---) and the theater shakes and there is mass chaos, screaming. people in the streets, tanks. the story begins here: the iraqi invasion of kuwait.

the movie is dashing, fast: action sequences. dialogue is spattered and tense. helena bonham carter steals the show from everyone, bringing a deliberateness to her character that is in stark contrast to the entirety of the film. keaton, i personally feel, is a weak link here, especially since the absolutely disturbing shape of his eyebrows distracts you further, in a movie that seems to have as its goal distracting you. the quick pace of it i am sure is meant to emphasize the relative speed with which the characters must adapt to the demands of the environment and their jobs. (or at least i hope it was done for some reason.) but i feel like in a way it deflates the story itself, by failing to pause. is this just the nature of twenty-four news networks and it came out in the movie?

there were spattered philosophical debates about the nature of journalism itself in the film. "we're just the eyes." "we don't make the story. we aren't active participants." meanwhile, it is clear that journalists are anything but "just eyes" or some brand of participant observers....saddam and bush both watching cnn to see what is happening...using it...manipulation...ministry of information...disturbing.


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