Political Blockbusters or Reality Cinema?
I never thought there would ever be a President that I loathed more than Richard Nixon. George W. Bush fits that visceral category, a reaction to the last seven and a half years of his derisive administration. It’s difficult to know where to begin the list, a complex mix of premeditation and incompetence that pervades his tenure in office, often evoking images in mind’s eye of the 1964 cinematic masterpiece, Dr. Stranglove Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb. A Black comedy beautifully directed and co-written by the late Stanley Kubrick and starring George C. Scott, Peter Sellers and James Earl Jones in memorable performances to name just a few.
Based on the novel, Two Hours To Doom – an outrageous Cold War satire of mutual nuclear annihilation. A classic in Kubrick’s array of diverse films that include Spartacus, Lolita, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Full Metal Jacket and what may prove to be an appropriate caricature of the current Bush administration, Eye’s Wide Shut.
Many of the director’s best characters are obsessive compulsive and perverse in their megalomania. Who can forget Jack Nicholson in Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation of Stephen King’s chilling novel, The Shining, as a failed writer who becomes a caretaker of an isolated palatial white-house-style hotel. Ghosts of the past slowly invade and control his dark side, leaving him ranting and raving through the corridors of the spacious hotel with his demonic expression and symbolic ax.
How easy it is to imagine those in the highest levels of the Bush Administration portraying characters in a Kubrick film as absurdly demented in their creepy similarity. With a collapsing economy, a war based on fabricated facts and turning a blind eye as Earth approaches ecological disaster as the list continues to grow, these administrators/characters think they can convince the public that what they declare about anything is the best path for America’s destiny. Perhaps a more appropriate comparison is Mr. Bush as Emperor Nero, captured on the January 22, 2007 cover of the New Yorker magazine. A wonderful premise for a Kubrick film.
Then a new book, The Dark Side, written by journalist Jane Mayer, who makes compelling allegations suggesting war crime trials against high Bush administration officials (43) who continue to deliberately disregard Geneva Conventions, denying due process, torturing and justifying it when uncovered.
At this point, dawning reality sets in. This is no cinematic experience or Kubrick satire. It’s a collective nightmare and a dark page in American History.