Saturday, November 21, 2009

Germany calling

The Holcroft Covenant: Fortunately the last bad Michael Caine film I have to watch for a very long time. A highly improbable thriller incorporating every single 1980s spy-movie cliche available: Nazis, Swiss banks, a plan to "establish the Fourth Reich," incest, jet-setting between European cities, MI5, and black and white flashback sequences. It does contain two good lines: one is "Assumption... is the mother of f*ckup," and the other is "High on my list of things that I am not going to do with [a $4bn legacy] is start a new Nazi party, I'm pretty sure on that one; neither am I going to finance the redesigned Edsel or a broadway musical, or shave my head and give it to the Moonies."

The Lives of Others: On the other hand, we have a film about social redemption and observation, in which a Stasi officer tasked to eavesdrop on a playwright finds himself compelled to question his own activities even as the playwright comes to question his own support for the system which has nurtured him but arbitrarily condemned many of his colleagues. The portrayal of how bureaucracy furthers the development of shallow, petty-minded bullies, and of how easy it is to fall into compliance with a totalitarian system, is frighteningly accurate. Recommended, particularly for social science students needing a case study in professional ethics.

Movie count for 2009: 99