ESSAY AT THE RINGER LOOKS AT "1917 & THE TROUBLE WITH WAR MOVIES"
Today, The Ringer's Adam Nayman posted an article with the headline, "1917 and the Trouble With War Movies." Feeling that the cinematic "immersion" of Sam Mendes' 1917 ultimately leaves the viewer too passive, Nayman turns to Francois Truffaut's statement that "Every film about war ends up being pro-war" as a guiding paradox. His article looks at several key war films throughout the history of cinema, including films made by Brian De Palma:
It’s telling, perhaps, that the movies associated with the Iraq War have less of an aesthetic legacy than those associated with World War I or II or even Vietnam. In 2005’s Jarhead, Mendes even deferred to Francis Ford Coppola by showing Marines watching Apocalypse Now for inspiration, conceding to the older film’s (and older conflict’s) hold on the collective imagination. For the most part, post-9/11 American war movies have been more attuned to politics and aftermath, with spectacle either miniaturized—as in the tense, horror-movie-like bomb-defusing sequences in Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker—or else eliminated altogether. The most formally innovative Iraq War movie, Brian De Palma’s Redacted, avoids the battlefield altogether, focusing instead on a panoply of multimedia perspectives to get across themes of division and disinformation; where his 1989 Vietnam film Casualties of War favored a dreamlike, lyrical detachment evincing distance from its subject matter, Redacted’s surveillance-style textures and artful integration of documentary material were evidence that the director was trying to speak to the here and now.