Though no stranger to magical powers of advertising and mass media I have become increasingly weary of the Hollywood Propaganda machine and its idiotic attempt at hiding bigotry and hatred behind patriotism and seemingly wholesome values of truth and justice.
Is the dumbing down of the masses complete? Are we so numb that we can be programmed in less than 110mins with a lifetime of self-destructive suggestions and enjoy it?
These were my thoughts after (on my birthday no less) watching “End of watch”, the new movie from David Ayer. Ayer, the writer of training day seems intent on offending the senses of ordinary thinking people with his portrayals of inner city gang culture. “ The Ghetto will provide” one of the lead characters is heard to say, and it surely does.
It provides a bevy of underprivileged minorities living in appalling conditions and dying like flies, which we are encouraged to watch and feel nothing for. No violins, no tears, just a shake of the head and a gun in the face for ol’ darkie. A hysterical mother appearing to be strung out on crack, unable to find her babies until the gallant cops find them tied up by her black male companion in the closet. Add to this a caricature of incompetent Mexicans who miss everything (except a young black man) with their golden AK 47’s. This is a throwback to some of the worst cinematic injustices of the past.
With this jungle as a backdrop, the relationship between the police officers is explored in depth. One a Mexican played by Michael Pena the other an all American Caucasian ex Marine played by Jake Gyllenhall. The officers patrol the ghetto illegally stopping its inhabitants sure they will uncover some crime which they invariably do and are ready at a moments notice to beat or kill any resistance, vintage LAPD right? No. They have loving families and are unfailing in their love and loyalty for each other. They want true love with their wives and enjoy a laugh about the office? What’s wrong with that?
Nothing if you are white middle class (or non white and aspire to that lofty goal) and care nothing for the suffering of others. If that is your condition then this is a deep insight into complex relationships and a look into how the dregs of society live due to their ignorance, laziness and indiscipline.
My main gripe is the story is told with no social understanding or responsibility and gets round this glaring bigotry by adding a few token Black and Brown characters to the good (white) guys side.
Much has been made of the style of shooting but this is nothing more than a shameless attempt to hide the fact there is no real story here. The home movie style mixed into the narrative has been done numerous times before and in most cases, much better take John Herzfeld’s 15 Minutes for example.
There are always at least two sides to any story and only the ignorant would deny this. We live in a complex world with complex problems and no one would expect a movie to encompass all these complexities. Contrast this with say a film like Argo which begins with a short introduction to the causes of the Iranian hostage crisis whether you agree with the film makers take at least there is an attempt at balance both sides of the conflict.
Historically whenever films are made that show no understanding for the truths that lie at the base of negative conditions and demonise a community. These have been used to manipulate the minds of the masses to get them to agree to actions they would never agree to if they had the truth. Weapons of mass destruction anyone? Study the portrayal of Muslims and “A-rabs” in the years preceding the first Iraq War and beyond.
There are many pressing issues in the world at the moment poised to become hugely significant in the not too distant future. The global economic meltdown and possible consequences of the west’s involvement in the recent Arab spring are becoming harder to hide from the world.
It seems to me a new scapegoat is being prepared to take the fall for the ills of societies across the world and as ever it will be the Black, the Brown and the poor who bear the brunt of the blame and consequences.
I can only hope the End of Watch is the end of this type of destructive movie making.
Cut a long story short the white guys live by the grace and mercy of god and any one from a so-called minority … sorry fella.