Francois Truffaut famously said that there is no such thing as an anti-war film, because the action of warfare fundamentally looks exciting onscreen. (Just look at the D-Day sequence of Saving Private Ryan, which briefly appeared horrific before becoming the model of the modern shaky-cam action sequence.) Really, you could argue that the very notion of portraying war as “entertainment” is fundamentally immoral, if you wanted to be a fun-killing hippie about everything.
Which is all a roundabout way of saying that I’m not quite sure what to think of the trailer for Act of Valor, the upcoming February release which portrays a Navy SEAL mission using actual Navy SEALs, and carries the stamp of approval from the Navy. (If you’re interested, the Wall Street Journal has a long piece on the making of the film.) The cynic in me wants to point out that the film sidesteps some real-world issues: Oh, look, an Eastern European terrorist, how topical for 1992! But there’s something undeniably compelling about seeing genuine men of war re-enacting strikes, instead of actors who went to a five-day vacation boot camp. Watch the trailer and ponder the greater political implications:
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