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ItsCalledSoccer
ItsCalledSoccer
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May 8th, 2011 at 10:17:43 AM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

Quote: Unthinkable (Sony) Review


– I’ll resist the temptation to make a bad joke at the expense of the title and rename this pretentious polemic of a thriller “Unwatchable,” simply because Sam Jackson is invariably watchable when he does his thing. Even if, as in this film, his thing is the systematic, relentless and inhuman torture of a terrorist suspect.

... it’s a clumsy polemic that bounces between the boundaries of stage-play debate and torture porn spectacle as everyone argues over ethics, morality and just what we are willing to sacrifice to safeguard against a nuclear terrorist strike.

Michael Sheen is the American Muslim who endures the torture, as if to prove a point. Just like the film, which puts everyone to the test and finds that everyone is a hypocrite when survival is at stake: the higher the pay grade, the more hypocritical they are.

Except, of course, the man who actually does the dirty work, who is honest, up-front consistent from start to finish.

...

There’s a reason the film did not get a theatrical release.
..

Full Review



No thanks.



Dodging the question like this is ... a ... response, although not a brave one. The fact that it wasn't released and that a critic didn't like it doesn't mean it's not though-provoking or worth watching - lots of art gets harsh criticism and doesn't get released to the public. Funnily, I didn't hear any outcry over censorship in the inability of this movie to get distributed. But it is getting around. My friends at Stanford are twisting themselves in knots because they just can't escape the self-righteousness, absurdity, and stupidity of a character who, in all earnestness, advises the President to let the bomb go off because we have rules about how to treat someone who plants nuclear bombs in public places.

It is just a thought experiment, and I don't think it's likely this would ever happen. But before 9/11, I also didn't imagine planes being flown into buildings, or that an American president would be forced with the choice of allowing another hijacked commercial passenger jet to kill thousands more civilians or order the military shoot it down. Not quite apples-to-apples, but definitely in the same vein.

I believe that the reviewer genuinely didn't like the film, and it may not be the best film out there. But I also believe that there's a head-in-the-sand mentality in Hollywood that absolutely cannot deal with issues like this. It's a world-class dodge, and I hope neither the reviewer nor anyone else as cowardly who would dodge the question hold any positions of significant authority.
ItsCalledSoccer
ItsCalledSoccer
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May 8th, 2011 at 11:13:43 AM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

Quote: Unthinkable (Sony) Review


– I’ll resist the temptation to make a bad joke at the expense of the title and rename this pretentious polemic of a thriller “Unwatchable,” simply because Sam Jackson is invariably watchable when he does his thing. Even if, as in this film, his thing is the systematic, relentless and inhuman torture of a terrorist suspect.

... it’s a clumsy polemic that bounces between the boundaries of stage-play debate and torture porn spectacle as everyone argues over ethics, morality and just what we are willing to sacrifice to safeguard against a nuclear terrorist strike.

Michael Sheen is the American Muslim who endures the torture, as if to prove a point. Just like the film, which puts everyone to the test and finds that everyone is a hypocrite when survival is at stake: the higher the pay grade, the more hypocritical they are.

Except, of course, the man who actually does the dirty work, who is honest, up-front consistent from start to finish.

...

There’s a reason the film did not get a theatrical release.
..

Full Review



No thanks.



The bolded sentence makes me think the reviewer either didn't watch the movie at all or made up his mind at some point in the middle and just disregarded the rest of the movie. Not to be a spoiler, but at the climatic scenes where the decision is being played out, the characters as a whole move away from the idea of torturing the children. It's that momentum that twists the audience in a knot because that decision condemns millions - including children - to die, in some cases, slow, painful, torturous deaths.

Yeah, this guy didn't watch it with anything like a true movie critic's eye, but I guess he watched it with a "I don't want my comfy worldview challenged" eye. Not that there's anything wrong with that ... it's not an easy movie to process and it dramatizes some very difficult topics. And seeing your worldview challenged will always cause defensiveness, especially if you hold the "wrong" worldview. But he should tell the truth and say it offended him, rather than pretend he's a movie critic, when he writes that cowardly drivel.

But hey, the movie is out there. Watch it for yourselves and come to your own conclusions.

EDIT: If it's a polemic, it sure is hard to tell which side it's railing against. I think it's harsh, but I don't think it's a polemic.
rxwine
rxwine
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May 8th, 2011 at 11:21:09 AM permalink
Quote: ItsCalledSoccer

But this question is not meant to debate the efficacy or morality of "enhanced interrogation." It is meant to present you with a stark choice: torture the Jihadist's children or 20 million Americans die.



20 million is a lot. Most large U.S. cites run around a couple million at best.

When is a city or town too small in population to torture some children to save? Or is it all the greater numbers, greater good question?
Quasimodo? Does that name ring a bell?
ItsCalledSoccer
ItsCalledSoccer
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May 8th, 2011 at 11:33:51 AM permalink
Quote: rxwine

20 million is a lot. Most large U.S. cites run around a couple million at best.

When is a city or town too small in population to torture some children to save? Or is it all the greater numbers, greater good question?



If WIkipedia is right, the 2010 census is going to land about 19 million in the NYC tri-state area, about 12 million in the LA metro, about 10 million in Chicago, and about 5 million in Dallas/Ft. Worth, making them the top four MSAs in the nation. Using those metro areas, bombs would explode in areas that populate about 46 million. Say only half die, so call it 23 million. So 20 million is not a bad guess.

But the second question is interesting. I would avoid the term "SOME" children, since they're not picking up children off the street and torturing them. It's specifically the Jihadist's children.
clarkacal
clarkacal
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May 8th, 2011 at 11:40:43 AM permalink
Haven't seen the movie so maybe there is something in it which makes it clear that torturing the kids will make the terrorist talk. In reality it seems this tactic might not make the terrorist talk, and you just tortured some kids with no result. Even if there is only a chance it would work, that would still be my choice.

On a different note, does anyone else get really sick of Hollywood tackling issues through a fictitious script? Just dance and sing and leave the thinking to us.
rxwine
rxwine
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May 8th, 2011 at 1:23:34 PM permalink
I'm not so much concerned with either/or, questions like this, but if/maybe questions? And of course, we could also be eventually considering U.S. citizens that are jihadists too.

if you're a U.S. citizen willing to be tortured on a "maybe we'll get some useful information from you basis", that's giving up a quite a chunk of rights for security. I'm less concerned if we have proof of a ticking bomb and people will be able to prove it also. I'm not concerned that much for people who would make a decision to torture in such a scenario, because even people sitting in judgement should be given latitude judging those people. Well, I think they should.

It's like one of those judgements that award a dollar. You don't make extra-legal powers for the government to fuck us over, but you give people in judgement the ability to administer a slap on the wrist where necessary.
Quasimodo? Does that name ring a bell?
pacomartin
pacomartin
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May 8th, 2011 at 5:47:39 PM permalink
Quote: ItsCalledSoccer

Dodging the question like this is ... a ... response, although not a brave one. The fact that it wasn't released and that a critic didn't like it doesn't mean it's not though-provoking or worth watching - lots of art gets harsh criticism and doesn't get released to the public. Funnily, I didn't hear any outcry over censorship in the inability of this movie to get distributed. But it is getting around. My friends at Stanford are twisting themselves in knots because they just can't escape the self-righteousness, absurdity, and stupidity of a character who, in all earnestness, advises the President to let the bomb go off because we have rules about how to treat someone who plants nuclear bombs in public places.



Usually this area in the map is the most densely populated Combined Metropolitan Statistica Area in the USA, and it was 21.2 million in the year 2000 (6,720 sq. mi.). No single device will kill everyone in an area this big.

In comparison, the land area of Clark County is 7,910 sq mi.


I should have given a longer answer than two words. I can't abide movies with torture in them. It doesn't matter if the objective is good or bad, if the movie is well made or cheap. I don't care if the objective is to be thought provoking or just mindless torture-porn.

I couldn't stand Seven (with Brad Pitt), or even Robo-cop. I certainly don't watch Saw or Hostel or one of those types of movie. I had friends that went through training to be SEALS, and I admire them, but I can't watch it in a movie.

And you don't need a weapons of mass destruction scenario to ask this question. Would you torture an innocent child to save the life of your own child?
ItsCalledSoccer
ItsCalledSoccer
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May 8th, 2011 at 7:39:22 PM permalink
Interesting article about effect of terrorist nuclear attack in NYC.

http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=29862

Let's say that this would be what happens in four cities, which, besides what the initial blasts would do, would exacerbate the conversations with Russia and China.
Calder
Calder
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May 8th, 2011 at 9:49:57 PM permalink
Quote:

But the choice is dichotomous. You, like the people in the movie, MUST choose one or the other. There's no time left, all other law enforcement efforts to find the bombs have failed. There is no wiggle room, no "hand of God" last-minute rescue, no alternative. The bombs are beyond-all-doubt real, they will otherwise explode, and they are in major, major American cities.

Either you torture the Jihadist's children in his viewing, or up to 20 million Americans die.



I don't find this a difficult decision.
thecesspit
thecesspit
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May 8th, 2011 at 10:53:28 PM permalink
Quote: clarkacal

On a different note, does anyone else get really sick of Hollywood tackling issues through a fictitious script? Just dance and sing and leave the thinking to us.



Not really. I think it's interesting that film makers tackle issues through scripts. Just not if they ham-handed it.

This is just a variation on the trolley car thought experiment. Do you flick a switch to save a run away trolley car full of people? Do you do it if the switch means the car is saved but it hits an innocent bystander? Do you do it if instead of flicking a switch you have to push the bystander into the runaway car, killing them and saving the car? Do you do it if the switch will kill less people? Do you do it if the switch will save the people at the back of the car and kill a random (lower) number of people at the front? What if the front of the car is children and the back adults? What if it's vice versa?

And on and on and repeat.

With all these moral questions, while they are good to examine one's own thoughts and ideas, and build up some sort of parsimonious framework, real life -tends- to be less cut and dried. You don't always know the exact result of your actions, and whether they will have the desired effect, or some variant on it.

Churchill didn't -know- if warning the people of Coventry and the RAF defending the city of an impending German bombing would have given away the fact the Allies had an Enigma machine. I'm sure you can find other examples where before the action, the effects might save lives, but might not.

I'd find it very hard to order the torture of children, not least that just because they're Dad is jihadist terrorist doesn't mean their lives are worth any less. I'd also find it very hard not to take action knowing 20 million lives will vapourize. It's just that it's easier to personalize 2 people over 20 million.

Luckily, there are people who can make that decision (which ever way), and I'm unlikely to get myself in such a position.
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829

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