Sunday, 24 August 2014

UNBROKEN: A WHITE CHRISTMAS




The arts and entertainment staff of Alternative Right would like to solicit our readership's take on a question that is currently vexing us.

Posted above is a preview for Unbroken, a new movie being released on Christmas Day. The film tells the inspirational true story of Louis Zamperini, an American Olympic athlete who served America as an airman in the Pacific during WWII and eventually became a Japanese prisoner of war, enduring severe abuse, but emerging unbroken. (Hence, presumably, the title.) 

Unbroken looks to be a lavish cinematic affair. Although the cast is generally composed of little-known actors, the names connected to the project are impeccably highfalutin. The movie is directed by Angelina Jolie, with a screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen, based on a book by Laura Hillenbrand. Hillenbrand also authored the historical novel Seabiscuit, which was made into a movie a few years ago. Seabiscuit was essentially New Deal propaganda, promoting statist socialism to the hilt; however, it was dressed up as an old-fashioned "triumph of the underdog" tale, with a heavy dose of intoxicating nostalgia for a simpler and more wholesome time.

Unbroken, as you can see, also ladles out its nostalgic aesthetics thickly and mercilessly, going for the tear duct like a trained Rottweiler goes for the throat. Every conceivable box is checked; every string is pulled; no stone is left unturned; no cliche uninvoked. There are handsome, square-jawed young men with floppily dapper 1940s-esque hairdos, each doing his damndest and taking no crap, even while surrounded by hellish adversity. There are winsome, loving and supportive wives smiling sweetly. Victories follow heartbreaks; determination leads to triumph. Etc.


The whole thing looks so decidedly traditionalist in orientation that it borders on being, to the orientation of our glorious new dispensation, “offensive.” It is, in fact, full of wholesome and sympathetic white people; there is not a black or brown face in sight. What's more, there are more than a few mean and menacing Japs, one of whom tortures our hero, who thrills the audience with his refusal to be cowed by the dastardly yellow peril.



So here's the thing... This is a enormous-budget movie, funded by major Hollywood players, which, to all appearances, aesthetically glorifies whiteness, masculinity, and tradition. What are our Global Overlords up to here, precisely? Is it just a cynical means of generating a bit more wealth through milking the public's "greatest generation" feelz at Christmastime? Or is the endgame more subtle and sinister? What do y'all think?

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