The War in the Movies
One theme which resonates among a number of movies being released for Fall 2007 is the war against terroism – a visible aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001. While some of this Fall’s movies have themes which are centered on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and their impact on the American way of life others skirt around the issue but leave little doubt in the average movier-goer’s mind what direction the story is going.
There is no doubt that the events of September 11, 2001 and beyond have had a profound impact on contemporary every day life – we are all reminded of this whenever we have to take our shoes off at the airport as well as other minor inconveniences which we are faced with in our daily life. It is not surprising that movie-goers get to have a taste of what we see on the news every day…what surprised me though was the almost conspiratorial way in which these movies were all released at about the same time.
In the Valley of Elah directed by Paul Haggis who gave us the critically-acclaimed and award-winning Crash, features a cast led by Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon. The story centers around a war veteran played by Mr Jones whose son goes missing after returning from Iraq. Ms Theron plays the local police detective who takes the case to find him while Ms Sarandon plays the missing soldier’s mother. The movie was released in theaters in the US on September 21.
In Lions for Lambs, Meryl Streep (a personal favorite) shares the screen with Robert Redford, Derek Luke (another personal favorite), Michael Pena and Tom Cruise to tell the story of a couple of students who choose to join the war in Afghanistan and the impact their decision has on a number of people back home in the US. The US release date is November 9.
Even before it has been released for public consumption, Brian de Palma’s Redacted is generating some brand of controversy in the US public opinion polls because of the plot line. Based on a actual events, the movie narrates the events leading up to the rape of young Iraqi girl and the subsequent murder of her entire family. The movie which has already received an award at its screening during the Venice Film Festival is scheduled for a US release of November 16.
John Cusack plays a young father who has lost his wife during combat in Iraq in Grace is Gone. Scheduled for release on December 7, it deals with one of the most sensitive issues which families who have lost loved ones as a result of the war are faced with – dealing with the loss
Mike Nichols directs Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, Ned Beatty and Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson’s War – the movie adaptation of the novel by George Crile which is based on the actual events of a US congressman who funds the rebels in Afghanistan during the war against the Soviets in the 1980s. The movie explores the role the US government might have played in arming the group which would later be accused of assisting Osama Bin Laden. The movie is set for a US release on Christmas day
Released in the US on October 19, Gavin Wood directs Rendition which features Jake Gyllenhall, Reese Witherspoon, Alan Arkin and Meryl Streep telling a story of how interrogation techniques used in recent times can have an overaching impact on everyone involved directly or indirectly.
The Kingdom takes movie-goers to Saudi Arabia where a group of Americans travel to reciprocate the injustice meted out to some of their country-men at the hands of a deadly terrorist. The movie which was released in the US on September 28, features Jamie Foxx, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, Jeremy Piven and Danny Huston