Philosophy distinguishes between the mention and use of a word. “‘Love’ is a four-letter word” is mention; “I love you deeply” is use. Roughly: mentioning a word is to make a trivial observation about language; using a word is to connect, engage with reality.
This meretricious, cynical, shallow, worthless product, mentions in its 122 shameless minutes – AIDS, poverty, Africa, massacre, blood, brotherhood, etc etc etc – and uses not a single one of them. The unremittingly venal conception, execution (sic) and marketing of this apology for a film, discredits even Hollywood - its one and only accomplishment. Its marketing is obscene. And I have a strong stomach for these things, served by a passion for liberalism in the arts.
Imagine all the technical elements of a real film: screenplay, cinematography, editing, casting, performance, laid out before you, like the parts of a gun. They are then assembled skilfully, blindfolded, with heartless, mindless efficiency, into a bright, shiny, fully functional weapon for making money. High velocity – low calibre. And then, LOW by its own metaphor, with dispassionate efficiency, destroys all the real feelings and ideas it refers to throughout. All mention – no use. And that’s quite apart from the racial stereotypes, mostly black. ‘Shaft’ as a bling-king Americo African psychopath. As ever in today’s Hollywood, patronising racial attitudes are accompanied by gender contempt. Pity beautiful Bridget Moynahan; asked to portray the stupidest, most vapid female character of the year so far. Why, Director Niccol who wrote this drivel, has his own character bemoaning her talentless dumbness. This brain-dead clothes horse even takes her 6/7 year-old son along to break in to Cagey Cage’s secret arms store where everything that would convict him for a 1000 years is laid out in full view. What Ethan Hawke is doing in this travesty defies reason.
One review describes this as “The coolest film of the year”. If so, then truly we have entered a world of postmodern morality where bad is good and good is a bad joke. As the final credits roll, a patronising attempt is made to wrap this exploitative junk in the sheerest of veils of worthy intention. “Based on true events” it insinuates. Almost: it’s a base account of real events.