AND EDELSTEIN ON CRUDE PROPAGANDA OF 'LONE SURVIVOR', LACKS ART OF DE PALMA, FULLER, SPIELBERG
In 2011, we posted a video of John Leguizamo talking to ABC's Good Morning America about getting slapped by Sean Penn during take after take of a scene being shot for Brian De Palma's Casualties Of War. That video appears to be indisposed, but Contact Music's Michael West this week posted some quotes of Leguizamo discussing the situation. "I was a Latin guy," Leguizamo is quoted as saying, "and everybody would tell me to stay out of the sun so I could pass... for white... and I audition for this movie and I got the part of Corporal Murphy and then we get to Thailand and I go, 'Ok, shoot, there's a lot of sun; I forgot to put sunscreen on and I get really dark,' and they demote me - to Corporal Diaz... I was mad dark. Sean Penn is a sergeant and we kidnap this Vietnamese girl and we gotta gang rape her and my character refuses and Sean's gotta slap me into submission, and of course, Sean doesn't believe in stage combat because he's too method for that shit, so he's slapping me for real. We're on the 13th take and my face (is) out to here and you can't even understand the dialogue I'm saying and Brian De Palma's going, 'We have to do it one more time, John, it was out of focus.' So it's 'whack' and 'whack' and I'm about to quit and then they cut the scene out of the movie. I twitch every time he (Penn) comes near me."
EDELSTEIN ON 'LONE SURVIVOR'
Meanwhile, Peter Berg's Lone Survivor is a massive hit at the box office. Vulture's David Edelstein opens his review of the film by stating that "Berg’s film of Marcus Luttrell’s memoir Lone Survivor is frankly worshipful: It celebrates sacrifice and sanctifies agony. In an early training montage, Berg lingers on the young Navy SEALs’ sinewy limbs and ripped torsos, marveling (in slo-mo) at their ability to endure pain with manly, near-miraculous stoicism. The prep for war is itself a near-death experience, and it’s transmutational. These ordinary American guys — guys’ guys with pretty wives and loving families — are reborn as supermen.
"Luttrell, played onscreen by Mark Wahlberg, was the only SEAL standing (barely) after a 2005 Afghanistan mission to assassinate a murderous Taliban warlord went wrong. Nineteen Americans died, and Berg uses every cinematic weapon in his arsenal to make you feel each bullet as it rips through the warriors’ bodies, defiling young flesh that he has previously hallowed. The Taliban fighters take single shots to the head or chest and are dead before they hit the ground; the SEALs stay up, eviscerated but seemingly invincible. It is only the Alamo-like imbalance of forces that finally brings them down, and even then their deaths are 'good.' They’re radiant as they take their last, shallow breaths. War has ennobled them.
"I’m not being snarky or ironic when I say to Marcus Luttrell, 'Thank you for your service.' It’s important to separate the men described in his book from their depiction in movies like Lone Survivor, which is crudely written, rife with clichés, and leaves out anything that would transform a piece of propaganda into a work of art akin to Samuel Fuller’s The Steel Helmet, Brian De Palma’s Casualties of War, or Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan."