Friday, April 19, 2013

The Company You Keep [2011]

MPAA (R)  R. Roeper (2 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (C+)  Fr. Dennis (3  Stars w. Expl.)

IMDb listing (R. Roeper) review
AV Club (N. Rabin) review

Whatever the original intent of the book / movie, The Company You Keep [2011] (costarring and directed by Robert Redford, screenplay by Lem Dobbs based on the novel by the same name by Neil Gordon [IMDb]) may have been, its clear to me that events since -- notably the Boston Marathon bombing this year (which killed 3 including an 8 year old boy and a 22 year old foreign exchange student, and wound another 170 all of whom were just regular people) to say nothing of 9/11 (which killed over 3,000) -- make it very hard to attempt to rehabilitate Vietnam War era radical groups like the Weather Underground that also have innocent blood on their hands (notably that of regular beat cops and security guards who were leading regular lives with families and kids that loved them ...). 

To the book/film;s credit, several of the characters presented as former members of the Weather Underground notably Sharon Solarz (played by Susan Sarandon) and Jim Grant / Nick Sloan (played by Robert Redford) are presented as having regrets for their past actions.  In jail after being arrested after deciding to turn herself in after 30 years of hiding, Sharon Solarz explains to a young reporter, Ben Shephard (played by Shia LaBeouf) that age, having kids, having older parents that one loves, all serve to change one's outlook.  But she also then explained that the situation existing in the late 60s made her (and her group) desperate.  She and her group were seeing tens of thousands of young Americans and then millions of Vietnamese being slaughtered.  She and her group had agitated against the War, done their sit-ins with the Students for a Democratic Society and the War (with its attendant mass killing) was still going on.  So she and her group of friends that became the Weather Underground made the decision to go beyond the law (to seek ultimately the violent overthrow of the government that they came to see as Evil).

Now honestly, exactly the same logic drives the most radical opponents to abortion to seek to do exactly the same thing (or at least to stop abortion by "any means necessary") for exactly the same reasons"We followed the rules.  We tried every conceivable means of protesting peacefully (and even means that just barely "toed the line"), but the daily slaughter goes on ..."

Sigh, what to do when one sees a rampant injustice, indeed an ongoing slaughter, and all legal recourse has been exhausted?  That's the dilemma that that the former members of the Weather Underground had placed themselves in.  And again I say that the most radical opponents to abortion place themselves in a similar dilemma.  Finally, I would submit that even some of the Islamic radicals place themselves in a similar dilemma. Good Muslims, after all, are supposed to Pray (submit to God) and Give Alms to the Poor.  Yet all kinds of governments in Muslim majority countries all around the world are led by stupendously rich people who don't particularly pray and don't particularly give a damn about the poor with many of these regimes supported by the U.S. / Secular West (terrified of the Islamic radicals...). 

Sigh once more ... Honestly in the words of Rodney King:  "Can we just try to get along?"  Seek to see "The Other" as not someone "in the way" or "needing to be eliminated" but someone who is, (like we are ourselves) a "child of God" or "Created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them being Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

In any case, this film about some of the former Weather Underground radicals seeking to "come clean" and "face the music" for their past actions does give the viewer much to think about.

I would also say that currently it is not an easy movie to watch.

 << NOTE - Do you like what you've been reading here?  If you do then consider giving a small donation to this Blog (sugg. $6 _non-recurring_) _every so often_ to continue/further its operation.  To donate just CLICK HERE.  Thank you! :-) >>  

No comments:

Post a Comment