I didn’t have any expectations at all on this movie. I am not even sure why I got the idea to watch it but I had it sitting on my hard drive and I figured, “why not”. I am not regretting it at all.
This is a movie that starts out as a regular war movie. American guys running around in the dark shooting at foreign, middle east dudes. At least I think it is in the middle east, it is a bit unclear and it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that all this fighting starts with one huge atomic bomb wiping out all of Sarajevo.
Ever since 911 the world has tightened up their security, especially in America. People’s every step is being trace via cell phones, credit cards, internet usage and so on. After Sarajevo that security level is raised even further; people’s eyes and fingers are scanned, dna is registered, devices to trace sperm inside a room is developed among many things. You can’t move anywhere without being undetected. A form of security for the little man. At the cost of freedom. But does it really matter?
Well, since Sarajevo the acts of terrorism has gone through the roof, despite all the efforts to protect the people. Why? Because of one man and one man alone. “The American” they call him. John Paul, a linguistics researcher who lost both his wife and his young daughter in the Sarajevo incident, has discovered that with the power of language you can make people do pretty much everything. Now he’s out on a mission to start civil wars around the globe. Whatever country, mostly third world countries, he comes to a war starts within months. Exactly how he gets to the higher ups are unclear and at one point (early) in the movie we actually see one of the generals in a country at war confused rambling on about how he doesn’t understand why he started the war. So, John Paul certainly has the talent to talk anyone into anything.
The counterpart to John Paul is Clavis Sheperd, US Special Forces who dabbles a little bit in everything military (or maybe they do all this?) it seems, going undercover as a spy at one point and doing tactical work and close combat at others. Anyway, he’s a handsome man (as everybody else in this anime.) who has been stripped completely of his feelings and is now a super soldier, closely monitored by the higher ups. It’s good to be flatlined, as one scene shows. Clavis gets asked the question by a therapist he visits at one occasion if he is “ready to go slaughter some kids”. Nice. And that’s exactly what he does.
Kids and grown ups a like, they are all slaughtered. There are some pretty dark and grim scenes with blood splattering about and heads getting shot off. One scene is of a little boy, maybe 10 years old, shooting a weapon like a mad man. One of the soldiers shoots him like he is nothing, just a dog, head on. It’s kind of hard to see. Especially when you know that stuff like that happens. This is war and it is real.
A lot of things in this movie is real and it is hard when you realise it. The “freedom” we supposedly have isn’t really freedom. Someone is watching us. They want a society free of paper money but everytime we pay with our cards someone somewhere register that buy. Everytime we log onto WordPress or Twitter or Facebook we put our print in a time log on a server out in a desert somewhere. Both Clavis Sheperd and John Paul fights for freedom, but in the total opposite way. The questions one has to ask is; who’s right and who’s wrong? Is anyone right? Is there any right to begin with? And really, do people care about freedom? Aren’t we content with what we have as it is right now? Do we really need more freedom, does it matter if big brother knows everything about us?
It’s interesting to follow Sheperd’s development throughout the movie. He goes from an emotionally dead soldier to a somewhat confused man to a man on a mission. It’s fascinating. There are some other characters that are interesting as well even though they don’t have the same development as Sheperd. John Paul is a man of words and it shows well. And as I mentioned above, everybody is so pretty, especially the female protagonist (or is she the antagonist? I am not sure who’s what.) She is absolutely gorgeous.
Well, it’s a war movie about the power of the language. It got me thinking about how safe one really is in a world of constant surveillance and if that safety really is worth the restrictions of the freedom that follows. It is a very current topic, don’t you think?