Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Themes of various 2007 films

In film classes, whenever we were presenting on films, we usually had to talk about the themes behind each film. Here are themes of 2007 films. I will keep working on this as I go:

Charlie Wilson's War:

-Salvation through Professional Dedication
It's a recurring character point that the film from Charlie Wilson to Gust to Mike (the weapons expert) that none of the man might look the part that they are assigned to do and in the case of Charlie, highly immoral in every which way, but they are all 100% committed to what they're doing, they judge each other by their ability to get the job done and the film expects the audience to like Charlie and Gust based on that as well. The film never even addresses Wilson's ammoral ways because Wilson, himself (or the version of him shown on screen), never was introspective about it, and from what is shown of him at the beginning, you would think that he only cares about the perks of being a Senator but he does end up fighting tooth and nail for something and it's somewhat forced upon us the idea that his immoral ways mean nothing compared to his accomplishments. This is often a theme of Sorkin's work (which is kind of annoying) where every single character on screen happens to be 100% dedicated to their job and no lackadaisical people or slackers were ever born into the Aaron Sorkin universe.

-History repeating itself
A fairly obvious point of the film was showing that this conflict would surface again. People like Rudy Guiliani and Senator Murtha in the Charlie Wilson Story resurface in the present day as major figures and they're included in the story as a reminder of that. Also, people like Crystal, the naked girl in the hot tub, and Amy Adams' character asking "Afghanistan, where's that?" echoed the fact that when Afghanistan entered the forefront of current events after 9/11, a lot of people had a similar reaction in not knowing anything about the country of Afghanistan.

-Good vs Beuracracy
As opposed to good vs evil, beuracracy is the main enemy that Charlie Wilson battles against to reach his goal is the hurdles of beuracracy. The "evil" force, which is the Soviets is not really much of a main character in the story, and the conflict doesn't stop when the Soviets are defeated: Hammered into the quote from Charlie Wilson's book "We fucked up the endgame," is the implication that inneficient beurecrats in Washington are what messed up Afghanistan by not signing a small bill for education. Wilson's power also stems from his ability to make deals and bring people together which is what Washington is about at its best and worst.

No Country for Old Men:

-Inevitability of evil
This is a fairly obvious one. Javier's character presents a sense of inescapable dread. The idea that Tommy Lee Jones knows his time will come is somewhat of an odd one.

-Fate determined by chance
The coin flip mechanism says it all, but it's echoed by a few other developments in the film, and it seems as though Javier Bardem is a force that lives by those developments in chance and believes in enforcing them. He has no logical reason to kill Kelly McDonald's character.

Lions for Lambs:

-Children are our future

-Price of political dissillusionment

Michael Clayton:

-Money vs Truth

-Character is determined by what we chose to do when the stakes are high


3:10 to Yuma:

-Bravery isn't defined by societal values

- Honor among thieves

- Hero worship/Perception

- Honor is earned

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium:

-Adulthood as a liability

-Summoning power from within and that power is imagination

Pirates of the Carribean:

-Always a second chance

-Can't escape our destiny


-"You can't stop the beat"

-Self-awareness/Coming of Age = Moral awakening

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