Exploring the Dark Side

I have a suspicion that there’s a lot of restless turmoil churning beneath the American psyche since 9/11 — rage, sadness, hurt and confusion that hasn’t been addressed yet in our art and public discourse.

I’ve read up a bit on trauma and what it does to its victims. Too often, the symptoms are overlooked or placated with a hardy John Wayne-ish “Buck up, Pilgrim” approach that leaves the bereft and grieving to feel all alone in their internal shock and sadness.

Only now are our movies — the only universal art form that we have — beginning to explore the deep hurt, fear and anger roiling in our collective unconsciousness. It’s coming out in odd, curious, depressing showdowy and apocolyptic ways that truly terrify me.

I may be alone in this, but I suspect that many of us are still searching for answers to relieve the pain and betrayal we feel inside us. And we’re tired of the schmaltz and pablum that we’re offered as consolation from the media. It’s either “Don’t think about that” or “Let’s go blow us some cool shit up.” Or: “The bogey monsters are coming to get you.” And: “Lo, the end of the world is neigh.”

If it’s the end of the world as we know it, I don’t feel fine, REM. And sorry, Prince, but I can only vaguelly recall how it was partying like it’s 1999. Before it all changed only two short years later.

We have serious work to do as a nation, as a society, as a culture, as a people if we are to drain the hurt from our hearts and rebuild our national strength, our brightness, our warmth, our trust, and our faith in a better future for all of us.

I don’t think movies like this will help:

Revenge Fantasy: Gibson vs. Goons
By Michael O’Sullivan
Friday, Jan. 29, 2010

There’s nothing especially edgy or dark, or darkly edgy, or even particularly twilit about “Edge of Darkness,” at least as thrillers go. Its title is one of those generic labels, like “Compelling Evidence” or “Deadly Affair,” that only hint at what’s inside, without telling you the exact flavor or nutritional content.

Here’s what you’ll find: an elaborate — and not entirely unsatisfying — revenge fantasy about a cop who sets out to find his daughter’s killer after she’s gunned down in front of him on his front porch.

MORE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/movies/edge-of-darkness,1133927/critic-review.html


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