The interrupted Journey (1949)

Among the great paraphernalia of books and movies about the UFO phenomenon, it is strange and at the same time expected (paradoxical) that The Interrupted Journey is the only one of them that manages to present this controversial topic in a convincing way, and as we will see, much of it comes from the choices the author has made in this regard. It is the fact on which the whole story is based, it is the way it is presented, and it is the author’s position on it, factors that conspire to keep the reader on the lookout for the next revelation, while retaining a sense of reality and critical thinking, especially in the evidence presented.

But let’s see… what is The interrupted Journey about? Well, it’s about the famous “Hills abduction”, it’s the recapitulation of this event, the first documented case of alien abduction in the history of mankind (actually I think there were some earlier ones, but it’s the first one to achieve enough fame to get into popular culture). And well the Hills were very unlucky I guess, to have been wandering around at night on a dark, secluded road after going on vacation for a weekend. What happens to them on the way home will remain in their memories for the rest of their lives, although not exactly on their conscience. What occurs is that the Hills, initially, could only remember a part of what had happened to them; on their way home along the highway they encounter a strange light in the sky, strange in the way it moves, back and forth at great speed (which Jung lucidly warns is very similar to the movement of insects). But this light does not remain just circling the night sky, no no, soon this light is above the Hills’ car, chasing them like the shadow of the hawk over the timid rabbit, hunter and prey (in fact this is the sensation that the opening story of the book provokes in the reader). In an almost heroic act, Barney Hill gets out of the car and decides to walk in the open (without really knowing why he is doing it) and I say a heroic act because honestly, how many of us would have gotten out of the car to get a better look at a ship flying menacingly over our car? The thing is, Barney just happened to have some binoculars (the couple later indicates that they had them because they didn’t have the money to buy a camera) and he uses them to get a closer look at the ship, manages to see some people inside and one of these people tells him to stay still using telepathy. The being inside the ship wants to convince him to stay still in that place, away from the car where Betty Hill is yelling at him to come back to her. It is here that Barney feels an inexpressible terror that urges him to run to his wife, carrying with him a terrible premise; “they want to kidnap us”.

Little more than this is what the Hills initially remember, although every time they tell the story to the different people the book reports, especially to people from the U.S. Air Force (since the shock was so great that they did not hesitate to contact the authorities), they become aware of a lot of details that make them think that during that night more things happened than they can remember. In the initial story, Barney and Betty remember escaping in the car after seeing the beings inside the ship, although they also remember arriving home almost three hours later than usual. And it is here where the genius of author John G. Fuller appears in the ordering of the events in the story, who starts the story by telling us this first version of the events, and then moves on to all the evidence that forces the Hill family to question this story and question their own memories, to the point of deciding to venture into hypnosis therapy, with the aim of recovering possible repressed memories. In this way, the author uses the chronological order of events to present us, not only with the two versions of the story, but also to effectively introduce all the characters involved (and I say characters, but they are actually real people).

And that’s how we get to the second version of the story, the version that comes from retrieving memories under hypnosis. I have to say that, initially, the Hills had no intention of telling their story to the rest of the world, especially Barney. However, the feeling that something was wrong and the desires to get it off her chest are what lead, initially Betty Hill, to tell the affair, first to her sister and then to the rest of the people (including the military officers and people close to them). Barney remains in a position of skepticism towards the possibilities, specifically, he does not want to know anything about the existence of extraterrestrials, in an attitude very similar to that demonstrated by people who manifest post-traumatic stress syndrome; the idea is that as long as you can live in denial that the traumatic event happened you can live under the premise that the event did not occur and therefore you are protecting your daily life from that event being part of the reality in which you operate. However, that all stops after the hypnosis sessions to which they both submit. It is here where it is “revealed” what happened during those almost three hours lost in memory. Both Barney and Betty recall under hypnosis being approached by “strange men”, who somehow or other impeded the Hills’ movement and that these strange men took them inside a spaceship, where they underwent a series of apparently medical tests without any explanation and without either of them being able to do anything to stop them.

Now, there are antecedents that are stated in the story that are not, however, taken as established facts or as ultimate conclusions about what happened to the Hills. The conclusion the couple comes to at the end of the hypnosis sessions is that they both were abducted by aliens (the literal sense of the narrative), but others do not see the same truth in the matter. Specifically, the opinion of the psychiatrist who helped them, Dr. Simon, is much more concrete and critical of the story under hypnosis. You see, there is one point in the whole story that I haven’t mentioned that may have had a great influence on everything that happened. The thing is that Barney and Betty are an interracial couple, he is black and she is white. The detail may seem superficial, but let’s remember that the events described in the book took place during the 1960s, a time marked by racial conflict in the United States. Moreover, Barney himself relates in a hypnotic state having been worried (even scared) that something might happen to them because of this. Now, what does an alien abduction have to do with the racial phenomenon in the United States? But wait a minute, there’s still another piece of background missing. Betty’s sister was always an enthusiast of the UFO phenomenon and Betty loved to talk about it with her. So what could have happened? Well, a more concrete possibility is that Barney and Betty experienced a traumatic situation on the road and during the night, perhaps they were approached by a group of racist people and the situation quickly escalated, perhaps too much so, to the point where they both had no choice but to repress the whole thing. There is some evidence to support this idea, such as the fact that Barney had a tool under the driver’s seat (as if he had prepared to fight).

In the end I think this is the best thing about the book, which presents all these versions explicitly but does not settle for any of them, as I guess the author has not taken any side in the matter. In the end it is very difficult to know what really happened, but what we can say, following Jungian logic is that, what is known is that a strange phenomenon (meaning that it does not find a convincing explanation under the logic of consciousness) occurred and that there is an unconscious explanation to the matter (the recovery under hypnosis). The problem is that the unconscious tells us more about the beliefs and mythologies of the person and little about the concrete reality. But well, I think the idea of the book is to present this particular case without making a priori judgments about it and that is why I think it is undoubtedly the best book I have read on the subject of UFOs. The truth is that it is the only good book I have read (without taking into account Jung’s Flying saucers: a modern myth which is more a treaty of psychology) and I have tried to read several (but they are so bad!). I think The Mothman prophecies and Secret Life are worthy contenders, I’ll read them and tell you later.

Hereditary (2018)

Hereditary is the film that launched Ari Aster, director and screenwriter, to fame as one of the greatest current exponents of the horror genre and together with Yorgos Lanthimos (director of The Lobster) marks the return of European culture to Hollywood. Along with this return of European culture to mainstream Hollywood, I feel that both directors also mark a return of magical and religious thinking (even reaching as far back as the Greek tragedies in the case of Lanthimos), in short, of the ancestral narrative that now appears as a refreshment in the face of so many “modern” films that have neither feet nor head, much less the mystique that can be extracted from the ancestral culture.

Well but… What is Hereditary about? Basically, it’s about a grandmother who was part of a satanic cult, worshippers of King Paimon (a demon of great power), they need Paimon’s soul to pass into a male body. However, this grandmother’s son commits suicide when they try to put the demon in him, so now she needs “new children”. In order to satisfy this need for a new child, the grandmother tries to take possession of her daughter Annie’s (the protagonist’s) first child, but she does not allow it. The guilt that comes from taking the grandmother away from her first child leads Annie to allow her to get close to her little daughter Charlie, who acquires Paimon when the grandmother dies. However, the problem persists, Paimon needs a male body and the only solution is to find a way for Annie’s first child to be possessed by the demon. It is then that, through the great guilt that Annie feels towards her son (whom she did not want to have) the dead grandmother and the members of the satanic sect manage to manipulate her to make this possession happen. But in between, a lot of events happen that put a lot of pressure on the protagonist and prevent her from seeing things as they really are until it is too late.

Annie’s character can be described as the artist who prefers to be alone to concentrate on her creations rather than worrying about her family, this is the main problem she faces, because for each negative event that happens in the story, she closes herself more and more, demonstrating again and again her inability to share with the rest of the family, especially with her husband. This defense mechanism that she demonstrates comes from her initial impulse, her desire to be free, which comes from having lived with a controlling and manipulative mother, but it leads her to assert guilt for all the harm she causes her loved ones. Worst of all, when she decides to talk to others, she does it in an aggressive and unempathetic way. Proof of this is in one of those tense scenes in the film (I know, there are a lot of them) where the husband prepares the meal so that everyone can gather to share, after Charlie’s unexpected death. Faced with Annie’s constant refusal to confront her son Peter, who is the accidental cause of his younger sister’s death, Peter forces her to say something, anything, and she responds aggressively, further alienating her son and losing her husband’s sympathy.

But let’s get to the horror, is this movie really scary? Well, it is difficult to answer that question. The first time I saw it, I feel that it caused a constant impression of discomfort in me, especially because of the soundtrack and some scenes that I found extremely tense, especially the one of Charlie’s death. What the film achieves masterfully is to build an atmosphere of constant danger, of always being closely watched. Some images achieved with beautiful cinematography manage to evoke a spiritual sensation that adds further tension to the events that are taking place. On top of all this, the acting of the main characters, especially Toni Collette (Annie) and Alex Wolf (Peter) keeps us anchored to reality for much of the story, especially when it comes to the reactions to the paranormal events that occur. And these paranormal events are also anchored to certain reactions to be expected in human beings when faced with situations of fear or great suggestion, such as the alert reactions to the environment that occur when the person is suggested about the existence of dangers that cannot be seen. Another thing is the iconography that is used in the film that subtly explains the influence and cult of this King Paimon, although obviously only a person with a high knowledge of demonology could recognize such symbols. For the rest of us mortals, I feel that the symbols used bring back memories of both movies like The Blair Witch Project (stick-built elements) and pagan culture (I know it’s a very broad term but I’m referring to European folkloric roots).

After this film, Ari Aster delved deeper into the idea of Scandinavian lore with Midsommar, which proves his broad influences and interest in European lore and pagan and ancestral religions. As a film, Hereditary is undoubtedly the best attempt at mainstream horror since perhaps “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” and just like that film, it manages to build an atmosphere that supports the genre and really produces this sense of discomfort that leads you to think, to imagine, if all these demons and hellish creatures really exist. For that and for reconnecting with ancestral culture, I feel Hereditary is a film that is completely worth seeing.

Illusions (1977)

Illusions is a novel written by Richard Bach, a guy who is a writer and an airplane pilot, how can a person be so interesting? Well, the thing is that this story is about a guy named Richard, which is the author’s name, who is an old airplane pilot and who makes money by taking people for rides in his airplane. The thing is that this Richard meets another guy named Donald Shimoda, who claims to be waiting for him and who happens to be the reincarnation of Jesus, Siddhartha and so many other prophets of antiquity. Donald is waiting for Richard to teach him the art of being a messiah, since Richard has the stuff to be one of them, or as it is later revealed, he belongs to the same family. According to what I have read, it is possible that this novel is the continuation of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, but the big difference between the two books is that in Illusions, the narrative has little visuality and a lot of dialogue (in the form of allegories and existential conversations), while in the first one (Seagull…) the ideas are fused with the action. This makes Illusions a more difficult story to read, except for its final passages, where the action is present and has narrative importance. But hey, do you want to know why this book, despite its monotonous parts, has some very interesting ideas about human existence and a philosophy of life that can free you from suffering? Then let’s talk a bit about Illusions.

As I said before, Illusions is about a messiah who comes to teach the protagonist to be a messiah too, what he teaches him is that life is a dream and that we can all do what we really want to do and that this is the way to freedom.The way Donald Shimoda teaches Richard about all these things is that they both spend time together, traveling in their vintage airplanes and taking people for rides, a very simple and free life that allows them to talk about existence and practice miracles along the way, things like walking on water, swimming on land or walking through walls. It’s all about understanding that the ideations we have in our minds are actually limitations that we impose on ourselves by seeing life in a structured way, when the truth is that life is a dream of what in the novel is named as the “is” (the self I suppose). Also, as I said before, the way the novel is written may seem monotonous to some people, as everything is set up with a lot of dialogues in the form of conversations, where Donald may even seem a bit heavy or mumbo jumbo with his know-it-all attitude. To be honest, the first time I read this story I liked it much more than I do now, this reading prior to the review I found it much harder to keep my attention, except towards the end of the story, where the actions take over the plot, albeit somewhat abruptly.

Something interesting about the story is that it is written in a circular way, it all starts with some words written on a draft, it is a story about a person who is born in Indiana and has a very normal life until he recovers memories of other lives, these memories make him strong and wise. Then, other people come to him for advice and he asks them a question; what would they all do if God commanded them to be happy for as long as they live? This is the premise of the story, it is the reason for the violent denouement over the ending, it is the foundation of all the conversations Richard and Donald have throughout the story and it is the reason Donald chooses Richard to teach him the ways of the messiah. And the whole thing takes on a circular nuance because in the epilogue, Richard has a dream where he meets Donald (posthumously) and Donald asks him to write a book containing the teachings of the messiahs, Richard does not want to do it, but ends up accepting Donald’s request and starts writing, which is how the last words of the novel are identical to the first. So the whole time we’ve been reading something that ended but starts at the end, when this idea of writing the things that happened comes to be, but that we already lived through all those things having read the whole novel. Tangled? It made me nauseous too.

Remembering that Lagos Esgri lesson about the point of attack in dramatic stories, I have to say that this story is a very clear example of how to choose that point to build a story. The tale is about a messiah teaching a messiah candidate the job, right? And well, according to the story, a messiah does what he wants, because he knows that the divine goal of life is to be happy. So it is not surprising that at the beginning of the story, Richard lives comfortably and in solitude, he owes nothing to anyone and does what he wants, the only thing he needs is to get rid of the mentality that life is a problem that must be solved at every moment. And that’s when Donald Shimoda shows up and even says, “I’ve been waiting for you”. Could it be that he was waiting for Richard to have this life? The way they meet, flying in old airplanes over the fields, gives the impression that this is the case, although we could also be reading too much between the lines, what do you think?

Before I finish, I cannot but refer to the end of the story, it is a must that cannot be missed. It is a very strange thing because it is at the same time gratifying and at the same time abrupt, the end comes like a heavy stomp on the brake before crashing. Donald is interviewed on the radio about flying over the fields in old airplanes (we don’t know why he is being interviewed) and there he says some controversial things that upset the locals. What he says in summary is that all the people who have done something important for humanity, really what they were doing was living for their own interests with a divinely selfish soul. Something like live and be happy for yourself or live for others and be unhappy. For these words people label him as antichrist and end up shooting him with a shotgun, in a scene very well written by Richard Bach, demonstrating once again his mastery in constructing vivid action sequences (the most interesting aspect of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, I feel). But, even though this scene is so well constructed I couldn’t help but feel that the novel falls into this sequence of events randomly and half disconnected from the rest of the narrative. But what does that matter, if the most interesting thing is when Richard reads the messiah manual, yes seriously, it’s a book that teaches messiahship, right after Donald’s death, and the words he finds there are “Everything in this book can be wrong”. Which I guess is Donald’s last test for Richard, the last threshold to break the lasso of dependency between teacher and student.

That’s all I can say about Richard Bach’s Illusions, I know I said that the book had some monotonous parts, but honestly, when I was younger I found these parts equally interesting, I guess it’s because now I’m a damn cynical nihilist that I can’t enjoy things the way they should be. The first time I read it, I remember this novel having a strong impact on my life, it brought me peace and hope in human existence, beyond the “survival of the fittest” nightmare we’re in right now. That is why I feel that these Bach stories are so important, especially now, because in them you find some very interesting reflections on life and it leads you to think from another perspective, about a world where magic is everywhere, even in those that cause us pain. For all these reasons I feel that if a large number of people read Illusions and other novels by Richard Bach it is more than likely that the author will end up as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Hannah and her sisters (1986)

This is the review of Hannah and her sisters, the only Woody Allen movie I have seen complete, well that doesn’t mean the others are bad. Hannah and her sisters caught my attention when I read the synopsis on imdb, where it more or less says that the movie is about Hannah and her sisters and how they all keep changing partners until they find the perfect match for each other. That’s what it says in the synopsis, but the film actually portrays a very human phenomenon and I feel very difficult to portray, which is the loss of the dominant position within the family (which happens to Hannah towards the end) and how the rest of the people adapt to this new context following the logic of their own idiosyncrasies. To show this interesting change in the family dynamics, the director/screenwriter takes a lot of chapters to advance the plot in a very particular way (I guess for those who love Woody Allen’s films it shouldn’t be that particular, but for an initiated it is!) jumping between characters over and over again, but let’s be honest, not always with a cohesive logical structure, although honestly, what does it matter! In some parts it seems that the movie doesn’t have a defined theme, especially the parts that correspond to the character Woody Allen plays (the hypochondriac) compared to the rest of the movie, don’t seem to have a thematic relation until almost the end of the story. None of this detracts from the entertainment and interest of the story, which concludes with this change in the hierarchical structure of the family.

But… what is the movie about? Well, it’s mostly about Hannah’s sisters, who start the story without having reached the fullness of their lives (without having formed a stable family), unlike Hannah, who welcomes them happily at home with her husband and daughters. At this point in the film, Hannah has the upper hand with her sisters and stands as the benevolent and concerned queen, ready to help but also to remind them of all the problems that keep the family in the way it is currently configured. After the opening scene, where they come together to celebrate Thanksgiving, we spend part of the film watching Hannah’s husband get involved in a love affair with Lee (the sister played by Barbara Hershey), who is living with an older painter (who was also her teacher). At the same time, Holly (the sister played by Dianne Wiest) struggles to find work as a theater actress with her friend April, who ends up beating her in the castings… and in love too! So it goes with poor Holly, who in one revealing scene realizes that, although she has some acting chops, she can’t compete with her friend’s talent and panache.

So let’s say that the film is about Hannah having a settled life (or so she thinks), while her sisters struggle to build a meaningful life following their desires (obvious because the film is also based on the story of an extended family with enough resources). While Holly takes a path that leads her to abandon her dreams of becoming an actress, to later make the decision to try her hand as a writer, Lee leaves the painter to maintain a clandestine relationship with Hannah’s husband. While this happens, we are also involved in the story of Mickey (Woody Allen), who suffers from hypochondria and even fantasizes about being diagnosed with terminal cancer, a situation that leads him to lose the meaning of life and seek solace in different religions. It is worth mentioning that Mickey is Hannah’s first husband and that their relationship was ruined after Mickey discovers that he is infertile. So, while Mickey, who is a television writer, debates with the gods about the fate of life, Holly and Lee wander again and again in the search for emotional stability.

And how does the story end? Well, in the end everyone is happy except Hannah and her husband Elliot, who pay for the success of Hannah’s sisters via worsening their own relational situation. Partly because the first script Holly writes relates to Hannah’s life, with things about her that are personal and that she resents being known (although we could also interpret that she is really upset that her sister is achieving success and this makes her uncomfortable). The other problem that the couple faces in the end is Elliot’s infidelity with Lee, something that is never explicitly talked about in the film, but that constantly appears in the sense of guilt that surrounds both characters, although Lee decides to put an end to the affair and return to study at the university, where she falls in love again with a professor (some people don’t change). But hey, in the end it feels like the movie is about Holly and Mickey, at least they manage to make some change and be happy together (not counting that catastrophic first date). I have the impression that Hannah appears more as the pillar that unifies the stories than as a leading character, so sometimes I think if the movie shouldn’t have been called “Holly and her sisters”, but well, that’s up to the creators I guess. As far as movies about love relationships go, I’d say this film is definitely one of the best I’ve seen, especially because of the clarity in the development of the characters and the conversations between them, the situations they have to face! Things that seem so mundane at a quick glance but are so important in each person’s life story that seeing them portrayed on screen is very interesting. I’m referring to moments like the declaration of an infidelity, a date that goes wrong, the search for a sperm donor or others that we encounter throughout the hour and forty-six minutes that the film lasts.

The good:

  • The characters and the situations they face.
  • Mickey’s religious journey.
  • The end of the story.

The bad:

  • On a few occasions I feel that the device of the character having a monologue in the middle of an action doesn’t come across well constructed (not on all occasions but definitely on some).

Dark Skies (2013)

Dark Skies, a strange movie… to begin with I don’t think I saw any images of dark skies during the whole movie, in fact, I don’t think I even saw a shot of the starry sky. Well then… where are the dark skies? I don’t know, but what I do know is that what starts out as a messy film in the way it builds up tension (especially during the first act) manages after a while to build up an interesting and especially tense tale, even hitting some Kubrickian notes near the end that make it worth giving it a thought. But I have to be honest, I have a personal bias for this movie and for the alien abduction movie genre. I feel it’s the last great myth left in culture, the only place within the collective unconscious from which disturbing stories can be rescued to develop horror narratives. Horror films have always drawn from religious cultural lore (mostly) and with the fall of religious belief, the “death of God” and magical thinking over the last decades, can anyone really say that they have felt fear watching a horror film? Well, I can say that I felt fear watching Dark Skies and that is why we are going to talk about this film.

But it’s true what I said at the beginning, the film starts off in a rather disorganized way and I think this is due to two factors. The first one is an attempt (at least it seems so) to emulate in certain aspects Signs by M. Night. Shyamalan, I’m referring specifically to the plot involving the older brother of the family which only pays off in retrospect (and doesn’t really pay off much) after the final sequence. This plot involves the boy’s passage into adolescence and many of these scenes feel really disconnected from the rest of the story. The other factor that plays into the rocky start of the story is the way the plot moves in the beginning, by which I mean the beginning of the “attack,” the moment when the aliens begin to manifest themselves in the lives of the characters. At least the first two signs of their arrival at the protagonists’ house I feel don’t work at all. At the beginning, the mother finds the food outside the refrigerator (this leads to the hypothesis of an animal attack during the night). Then, certain elements in the kitchen are rearranged in a mathematical way (and we know about this tangentially because the father of the family indicates it and because we know he is an architect). The first time we see an alien is in a drawing that the youngest son makes after commenting that he has been talking to the “Sandman” (an ancient device of Western mythology, you know, of that magical thinking that no longer works), such a drawing reminds us of a lot of old movies that have used the same device ad nauseam.

So far anyone could say that this movie is just another in a long line of horror movies with exactly the same plot. That plot Blake Snider calls “the monster in the house” in his infamous book “Save the Cat”. And a lot of them wouldn’t be wrong, unless… maybe they are wrong, because, admittedly, up to this point the film doesn’t work very well, except perhaps for the element that I feel keeps the film cohesive until the end, the relationship between the parents of the family and the growing tension that forms between them. If the poorly constructed paranormal manifestations haven’t grabbed your attention up to this point, I feel you couldn’t help but be interested in the problems that arise between the two main characters. The problem is that the father has been out of work for some time and the mother has to work for both of them. Also, the father’s relationship with the older son is not the best since the latter has started to become interested in women. What I mean by all this is that, although the film fails at the beginning to present us with the main conflict or does it in an unsatisfactory way, what it does do well is to introduce us to the characters, all of them interesting and well constructed.

But the plot catches up with us after what I feel is the first really disturbing event (and consistent with the alien abduction lore, for those who know it) in the story, occurs when the young son has a catatonic episode playing with other children in the neighborhood square. Up to this point we know that the father is suffering because he hasn’t gotten a job and we’ve seen family arguments culminating in this scene, where the father is completely overcome by his son’s reaction and doesn’t know how to help him. From here on, the story takes on a different tone, one of a constant sense of stalking and growing paranoia, especially in the mother, who is the first to “see” one of the aliens inside the house. The situation escalates rapidly as the characters begin to lose control of their own lives and worse, their bodies, some of them coming to move unknowingly during the night and having seizures consistent with the emotional expression of traumatic events they cannot remember. All this until the moment when the mother decides to start researching about these events and ends up arriving at an internet page that explains everything that is happening to them via “extraterrestrial abductions”. But the father is not willing to believe in this explanation, especially after finally finding a job. However, things get worse to the point where he himself manages to see the strange beings that visit his family during the night.

After this, the parents decide to visit an abduction expert, who tells them the truth about the matter, there is nothing they can do to stop what is happening to them, moreover, he warns them that, when aliens show themselves to people, it is because they are going to take a family member with them. I’m not going to tell specific things about the ending so as not to spoil it for anyone, I’ll just repeat that this is where the plot about the oldest son pays off and it really doesn’t work much. What does work is the way the final confrontation is designed, it makes you wish the whole movie had been this way. Anyway, the truth is that Dark Skies is a film that starts off badly but has a very good second act and a satisfying third act. Besides that, it is a film that dares to explore the extraterrestrial phenomenon under the logic of horror movies, something I don’t understand why it is not done more. Considering that the material at hand is actually terrifying, at least more so than demonic attacks or the fiftieth coming of the antichrist.

The good:

  • The presentation of the emotional traumas that are a product of the abductions.
  • The acting of Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton.
  • The cinematography of the final battle.

The bad:

  • The beginning of the film is uninteresting.

The Walkind Dead (2010)

The Walking Dead is a television series whose first episode aired around the time television broadcasts began and whose last episode will be televised eons after the end of human civilization. I’m serious! Figuratively, actually. It just feels like TWD has been on the air so long that it’s almost impossible to imagine television without this very long story about a group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse. I haven’t actually read the comic by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, so I can’t speak to this version of the story, but as far as its TV namesake goes, what I can say and what I feel is mostly relevant, far above the concept of revived corpses walking around and eating people, is that TWD establishes an ideal setting to create a multitude of dramatic situations that border on desperation and the desire to live, which constantly erases the moral lines in pursuit of survival, except one, the essential one in this series, the unrestricted protection of the family as an affective nucleus, but also as the only possibility to survive the end of the world.

This concept of family is not something new in TV series, in fact, I honestly feel that TWD is a clear successor of the series Lost, in which the drama revolved around a similar premise. Jack Sheppard, the protagonist of Lost, said in one of the first chapters “Either we learn to live together or we die alone”, a phrase that you could hear in any episode of TWD. And the fact is that, throughout its 10 seasons, TWD has explored to exhaustion themes such as trust, betrayals, compromises and sacrifices for the common good that lead to suffering and loss but also lead to the greatest expressions of humanity and bravery. I remember that one of the premises of Lost was to have a place where infinite situations could occur between characters, such aspect is completely replicable in TWD, with an equally diffuse plot in explanatory terms. I don’t think the nature of the infection has ever been specified, although it’s not as if it matters, since the dynamic of the series is not focused on detecting the origin or causes of the apocalypse (something that happens in World War Z) nor on fighting the infection and healing people. In TWD the characters quickly learn that the only valid option is to find a way to survive for as long as they can, and this survival time increases each time the “family” becomes stronger.

One of the high points of TWD is undoubtedly Andrew Lincoln’s performance as the cop Rick Grimes. And long is the journey we make with him during the 9 seasons in which this character appears in the series (Lincoln left the series during the ninth season). The story starts with Rick waking up in a hospital, after being shot, in the middle of the apocalypse (very much in the style of 28 Days Later). This beginning for the character is very interesting because of the reasons why he is alone, it turns out that Rick has problems with his wife Lori, they are on the verge of separation before the beginning of the end of the world. When the zombies attack, Lori takes refuge in Shane, Rick’s best friend and it doesn’t take long for the two to start a relationship. Now, when Rick returns with his wife and son (Carl Jr.), Rick’s attitude is somewhat peculiar. Instead of staying with them, he decides to go on a bunch of adventures to save other people in the name of justice and what’s right. It’s Shane who, even though his return hurts him in front of Lori, explains to her that in this new world the only thing that matters is protecting your loved ones. And Rick pays for his mistakes a bunch of times before he realizes that Shane is telling the truth. Not that it’s established, but I feel like, at least for the first few seasons of the series, Rick is learning how to be a father. He makes it explicit himself on one occasion when he tells another character that “these people look to me and expect answers, it’s something I wouldn’t want to happen but it does and I can’t do anything about it.”

There are other interesting characters within the series that help maintain and diversify the drama. Among them I think the most important are the ones that make it to the infamous episode 16 of season six “Last Day on Earth” (Negan’s first appearance). Among them are Daryl, Carol, Glenn, Michonne and Maggie. I feel like the series does a really very interesting job of creating the different dynamics between all of them. It’s just a matter of watching the first episode in which each of them appears and the last one to notice the incredible evolution they’ve had. Of course, there are also some exceptions, for example, Daryl appears for the first time as a not very interesting character (perhaps not very well established). It is later in the series that we pay more attention to him, when his value within the group becomes visible, beyond his skills as a hunter. I mean his values as a person, it’s as if he becomes the gum that keeps the group cohesive, always willing to sacrifice himself for others. One character that does have an interesting change from the beginning of the series is Carol, who goes from being a woman abused by a violent husband to become perhaps the best zombie hunter of the group and seeing this transformation really is a great achievement for TWD.

All that about the drama implicit in the story, but what about the more explicit elements? Let’s start with this zombie thing. And I feel like, it’s definitely the least interesting aspect of the whole plot. And I guess the writers of the series also realized this, because the inquiry about the phenomenon is left behind after the second season. There are some chapters in which Rick’s group is in a facility where a guy is investigating the causes of the infection, from this we learn only that all the charac… wait, I think this is a spoiler. The thing is, after this, it’s never talked about again. There is a moment, during the ninth season, where it seems that the lore about zombies is going to be expanded, when a new kind of zombie appears, capable of anticipating attacks and moving faster. However, everything is left behind when we learn that they are actually people disguised as zombies (and I personally feel that, from this moment on, the plot goes to hell). Beyond that, the zombies are nothing more than an unpleasant obstacle that appears every so often in the story. The real source of conflict in the series are the human antagonists and it is here, except for one small problem, where we find the real danger for Rick Grimes’ family. I remember in one episode, Carl Jr. asks his father if they are still the good guys, this because of the amount of murders they have to commit to survive. The first important enemy in the plot is Shane, Rick’s friend, who quickly loses his moral compass because of his love for Laurie. This character is the first major obstacle for Rick, the first test to find out if he is willing to do what it takes to save his family. Then come other enemies, most notably “the mayor” and Negan (perhaps the best-known antagonist of the series). The problem between the two characters is that they are not different enough to feel an evolution in the story. In fact, they both harm the group in a similar way, killing one of them in front of the others.

That’s what I can say about The Walking Dead, a series that has a very interesting character in Rick Grimes and a story about characters who don’t know each other and come to form a family together, as the only way to survive an apocalypse, having to make difficult and desperate decisions in between. Perhaps it’s true that the series has lasted much longer than it should have, already by the time they had defeated Negan it felt like every episode (except for the most important ones) was more of the same. That’s why I prefer to stick with the memories of the first seasons and the most important parts of the battle against Negan. The rest is forgettable, but it doesn’t take away from the dramatic value that the good parts have, moments where you can truly realize why this series was such a phenomenon for so many people.

The good stuff:

  • Rick Grimes!
  • The first four seasons are pure gold.
  • Last Day on Earth.

The bad:

  • The series goes on too long and gets repetitive.
  • The zombies are nothing more than a nuisance.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

I think that if there is one movie that should be shown during Easter week it is “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”, forget about those old stories about the death of Jesus or the Ten Commandments, no, no, no. None of those movies have the ability to persuade you to give the Christian religion a chance like The Exorcism of Emily Rose, a movie that takes inspiration from the case of Anneliese Michel, a German girl who was apparently a victim of possession, a case that gained fame for having occurred during the modern era, which put religious doctrine directly against scientific thought and resulted in the conviction of Anneliese’s parents and the priests who performed the exorcism to prison for the girl’s death. This real-life case shares many beats with the story of the film and just like the real case, the film is also framed in a discussion between religion and science, a key element that makes this audiovisual piece an emotionally charged story that could convince more than one agnostic about the existence of the realm of the supernatural.

As usual in this blog… Let’s start at the beginning! When I re-watched the movie, before doing the review, there was something that caught my attention about the beginning of the story. It’s what Lagos Esgri calls the “point of attack” or the moment the writer chooses to begin the story. In the case of The Exorcism of Emily Rose, the story starts in two different ways, the first is during the moment of Emily’s death, which is the beginning of the story of Father Moore, who is accused of negligent death. The second point of attack in the story is the first scene in which the protagonist, Erin Bromm, the lawyer who takes on the task of defending Father Moore, appears. In the first scene in which Erin appears, she is working in a bar, while her colleagues are all celebrating. The thing is, she is the one who has something to celebrate, she has just won an important lawsuit (she saved a person accused of murder) and yet, instead of celebrating the success, she decides to keep working. Now, I think it’s an interesting point of attack that screenwriters Scott Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman have chosen, as they could have chosen to start the story from Emily Rose’s point of view or perhaps the first time Father Moore encounters the case. But they have chosen the optimal point of attack for the development of the plot they want to tell. For the film is a supernatural crime thriller and the story centers on the trial against Father Moore. So, it is very convenient that the story starts with the father being accused of the murder and his lawyer (reluctantly) taking on the case.

Before the “lock in” (the so-called fighting decision), which occurs 15 minutes in, we already know more or less what the whole movie is going to be about (at least between which poles it is going to move), in part because of the conversation between the two trial lawyers in the case. In this part of the story, Ethan, the prosecuting attorney, indicates that he is Catholic, even asking for a glass of water when Erin invites him for a martini (thereby assuming a moral superiority to her), but then indicates that if it were up to him, Father Moore would go straight to jail, according to the law. This statement surprises Erin, as she had assumed that Catholic people had a strong sense of compassion and forgiveness. From this moment on, we witness the trial against Father Moore, in which the two poles of the plot are intensely debated, the scientific aspect, supported by Ethan and the prosecution, and the religious aspect, assumed by Erin (although she is not religious, but declares herself agnostic) after her first strategy fails (her initial strategy is to discredit the medical evidence presented by the prosecution). The struggle reaches the midpoint of the story when Erin finally assumes that the events that occurred could in fact be the product of the supernatural realm, after meeting Dr. Cartwright, the doctor who was present during the exorcism, and from here on out the film moves intensely towards this version of events, giving us several convincing arguments for the possibility that demons, and therefore God, exist. In fact, one of Emily Rose’s iconic lines is one in which she argues that people say God doesn’t exist, but how can they think that if she shows them the devil? She comes to this conclusion in one of the most emotionally (and cinematically!) powerful scenes in the film, the moment when she understands why this whole demon-possessed thing is happening to her.

The ending of the film is not at all bombastic and I think it’s good that it is so, what it does is that it shows a small change in the attitude of the protagonist, Erin Broom, who goes from being agnostic to being a believer (in a very symbolic but subtle way). Father Moore is found guilty of “negligent death”, but the jury makes a recommendation to the judge, they ask for a “sentence served”, acknowledging his guilt but considering that he has already paid for his crime.

Now and before I finish, I can’t but talk a little bit about the horror aspect of the film. And I feel that this is the weakest point in it I remember the first time I saw it, this aspect made a great impression on me, but this time I have to say that it felt rather forced. In the end, the demonic aspect of the possession is nothing more than a bunch of guttural screams and incidental music, but in the visual aspect it leaves much to be desired. Maybe it’s because that effect where people’s faces transform into demons has been used ad nauseam in thousands of youtube videos and the like. I don’t know, it makes me think of another film that I think has achieved a better visual section on the satanic theme, The Ritual (2017). Some of the visual effects in The Exorcism of Emily Rose I don’t think have aged well with the passage of time.

I think that’s all I can say about The Exorcism of Emily Rose, a film that presents interesting arguments about the possible existence of the realm of the supernatural and really leaves you wanting to know more about it. The main character, Erin Broom, is also a very interesting one, especially because of the great performance of Laura Linney, who gives great intensity to the argumentative sequences during the trial. Perhaps also because her antagonist, Ethan (Cambbell Scott), plays an equally intense role during these scenes. And let’s keep in mind that this movie has a lot of dialogue and is also very entertaining and quick to watch, something that is definitely not easy to achieve. It is for all these reasons that I feel Emily Rose is the perfect movie to watch during Easter week, or as Emily says, how are you going to deny the existence of God if I show you the devil?

The good:

  • The performances of Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson and Campbell Scott.
  • The arguments for the existence of the supernatural realm.
  • The scene where Emily understands why all this possession stuff is happening to her.

The bad:

  • The horror parts don’t make as much of an impact as before.
  • The use of animals to represent evil (come on! If animals are so good!).

In summary… see next to the chocolate eggs.

Gantz (2000)

Oh, you don’t know how long I wanted to talk about Gantz, something like since I finished reading the manga, I don’t know how many years ago (actually since June 20, 2013). It’s just that this manga/anime/live action created and drawn by Hiroya Oku has a tremendous story that is worth remembering. And I tell you sincerely that this manga goes to the last instances within its own plot, but I also feel that it explores what many have described as the essence of the conflict, the why of existence, because isn’t the goal of all stories a process of liberation? Something like the protagonist’s struggle to break the chains that bind their desire, which often translate into mundane devices like a tyrannical boss or an evil witch, but in Gantz this doesn’t happen, rather the protagonists struggle so much to find the answers that they end up meeting God and their answers (and their behavior!) end up justifying all the killing that characterizes the series.

Let’s go back to the beginning of the story to see how we end up meeting God at the end. The protagonist is Kei Kurono, a young student with few ambitions in life and a rather apathetic attitude towards existence. In the character’s initial dialogue, we can notice his lack of courage, when he explains how unpleasant and ridiculous he finds all of human life and that, unfortunately for him, is intertwined with a sexual desire that is difficult to keep at bay. We don’t know exactly why Kei Kurono has this attitude towards life, but we can intuit that it has something to do with the sexual frustration he experiences. After this, Kei meets an old childhood friend on the subway train, but doesn’t decide to talk to him until the friend asks for his help in rescuing a homeless man who has fallen into the train lines. This moment is particularly important for the protagonist because of two important points. The first is that Kei is surprised when his friend Katou recognizes him and asks for his help, although he obviously doesn’t show it because he doesn’t want to be a sissy. The second point occurs during the climax of this scene, when the train runs over Kei and Katou, in the seconds before he dies, Kei reflects on the futility of life, pointing out that dying at that moment really doesn’t matter. Both characters die during the train sequence, however, they reappear in the room of an apartment in Tokyo, although they quickly notice that they cannot leave the place. Other people are waiting next to a large black ball that tells them all that they have to go hunt an alien known as the “onion alien”.

So is the beginning of the story of Gantz, which can be summarized as “a group of deceased people are chosen by a machine to fight alien invaders in an attempt to stop a large-scale invasion”. However, such a summary glosses over many important points worth naming. One of the things that always caught my attention in Gantz is the dramatic arc of the protagonist, Kei Kurono, who, as mentioned above, starts the story in a state of utmost apathy. But it is this encounter with Katou that changes his vision completely, when this character reminds him of how he used to be, in the past, when both children played in the street. It turns out that Kei Kurono was Katou’s hero, a brave and risk-taking person, who was not afraid to take on rivals even bigger than himself in pursuit of doing whatever he could think of doing. A personality very different from the one the protagonist shows at the beginning of the manga (completely opposite). And it is this childish personality that allows Kei Kurono, after recovering it little by little with each mission he faces, to survive more than any other person in the story of Gantz, thus becoming a legendary hero in the conflict. And I want to emphasize this attribute of the character because, as we see throughout the first arc of the story, the way Kei recovers his courage is by facing fear over and over again. And it’s not just any fear that he faces, for if there’s one thing that jumps out at you in Gantz, it’s the amount of deaths and the brutality of them. Kei Kurono survives countless missions, losing everyone he meets in between, even striving to earn enough points to revive them! (something I didn’t mention is that this black ball in the middle of the apartment, where the revived appear, has a point system for the participants, if you earn 100 points you can revive another person).

Now, we are left with the issue of the nature of the conflict and the appearance of God within the story. Well, the thing is that this Gantz (which is the machine that revives people) is a device that was designed in Germany and is being used in different parts of the world to fight aliens, but the problem is that it is inevitable that the fight escalates until an enemy appears so powerful that it is very difficult to defeat it. In this aspect, Gantz maintains the classic structure of increasing the strength of the adversaries. Towards the end of the story, the last war is unleashed against the giant Aliens (which are actually beings very similar to humans, although gigantic). The humans and these aliens face each other in a bloody war that ends with the victory of the humans. It is at this point that some characters are transported to the “room of truth”, where they meet two “God Aliens”, who indicate that they are the ones who have actually designed Gantz and that the whole thing was only due to their wish for things to be like this. Now, this point and the point that follows it, which is about what happens when one dies and the value of a human being, are the most important points to understand all this about the origin of the conflict. Let’s go by point; first the desire of the Aliens God is the force of destiny, we could also say that it is the brush of the creator (in this case of Hiroya Oku), in the sense that the story is the product of the desire for the story to exist and the conflict is the mechanism by which the story moves in time. Second, the idea of death, which in Gantz takes inspiration from Buddhist philosophy on reincarnation but gives it a modern twist, pointing out that human beings are dust and particles, but that 21 grams of “data” or information are lost at the moment of death and it is this information that produces reincarnation. This brings us to the third point, the value of human life, which in Gantz is described as these 21 grams of information that reincarnates throughout the history of the universe.

What is the big lesson that Hiroya Oku is presenting to us? I feel that his version of the origin of conflict is based on the idea that all conflicts arise from desire, which is also one of the Buddhist doctrines. Taking into account that Kei Kurono sets out on this path to regain his courage under the desire to fall in love with Reika (one of the people who appears in the Gantz department) and that the result of it all is a battle between two planetary civilizations, I think it is fair to conclude (and I suppose this is a lesson for anyone who wants to write stories) that at the core of all conflict lies a strong uncontrollable desire that sets the protagonist on a path of destruction of the established order, and that such destruction is only justified in the end (depending on which end it is obviously! ). In short, thanks to Hiroya Oku and Gantz, a series that stands out for the originality of its plot and that has earned the place it has in the history of manga, without any doubt.

The good:

  • Hiroya Oka’s drawings are simply mind-blowing.
  • The main character’s arc is extremely interesting.
  • The ending with the crude speech of the Aliens God is unmissable.

The bad:

  • The last story arc can feel abrupt, especially considering that many secondary characters don’t have a satisfying ending.

In short… Read it or Die!

Paradise Lost (1667)

Paradise Lost is an epic poem written by John Milton and has been catalogued by many as the best representation, within popular culture, of Satan (even better than that found in Goethe’s Faust?). But this story is much more than a bombastic representation of the baddest of all bad guys, within its pages we can find a series of events that may be familiar to us (such as the story of Adam and Eve) but told in a very peculiar, almost theatrical way, which gives the work a different quality within religious literature and literature in general. But I feel that the most interesting thing about Milton’s epic is the discourse implicit in its 286 pages (in the version I read), a sharp commentary on the scope of freedom in the midst of religious doctrine and, because of this, on the relationship between man and divinity.

But what is Paradise Lost all about? I think we’ve all heard (well, most of us have heard) the old story of how Satan was expelled from paradise and his inevitable fall into hell because of his corrupt ambition. This epic poem gives us that story, but in great detail. Had you ever heard that the angels threw mountains, yes… mountains! at each other during the battle in heaven, prior to the fall of the rebellious angels? Well, in John Milton’s story, this and other crazy things happen that the reader is unlikely to forget. But I feel that in the center of the story is described a questioning of Lucifer’s or Satan’s reasons, in relation to why he decided to engage in a war in paradise, having absolutely everything in his favor as one of God’s favorites. The author presents his own version of these events, endowing the angels with great rhetorical skills, as they engage on several occasions in discussions about what is right and what is wrong in the universe, what can and cannot be done, and so on. Satan’s motives then appear initially as almost trivial, he questions the powers given by God to his first and only son, bestowing him with such endowments that he surpasses even those of the angels, accustomed to being the only favorites of the creator, having him as their only superior. What bothers Satan is that now he will have to lower his head, not only before God, but before his son as well. Did you see? That is why I say that the situation may seem trivial at the beginning, but behind this tantrum is hidden the author’s true discourse, a discourse that brings him closer to the concept of freedom, so elusive in markedly hierarchical situations such as those described in God’s paradise.

But Satan is not the only one who debates about freedom in the face of the great divine powers; the fate of human beings is also intertwined in the matter. It is as if, in some way, Satan’s incursion into paradise and the subsequent loss of paradise by Adam and Eve, once again revealed the scope of freedom in this world dominated by the preceding will of a creator entity. Is it freedom for Adam and Eve to live immortal lives in a place that provides them with everything they need, as long as they obey the laws of the one who grants them such gifts? The situation becomes more complex at this point, for if we advocate the freedom of humans to commit sin, we would be equating ourselves with Satan’s thinking, at least in ideological terms (for obviously the angel went a bit further by throwing mountains at the other angels). And it is possible that Milton may have realized this peculiarity while writing his story, although his own individual freedom may have led him to mitigate the impact of such a statement (perhaps because of the time in which the story was written) by imposing on all discourse and events the pre-existing will of God, who always appears as an omnipresent figure and as the genesis of all movement. So much so that an angel appears before Adam to comment on all the events that will occur, including the loss of paradise and the torments that ensue, all as part of the great plan of the creator to forgive them in the end, via the sacrifice of his only son.

Now, we can get down to debating what kind of divine plan can involve so much suffering, death and destruction so that in the end it all ends in forgiveness. I have been thinking about it a bit and I feel that Milton wants to tell us that at bottom God is assuming that Satan and evil have come from himself, that they are part of creation and that their manifestation is as much a part of the matter as the other powers (a pantheon that includes such ancestral beings as Chaos, described as the only thing that was before the light). Now, if angels could rebel against God and his only son, this makes them as permeable to error as human beings, however, only the latter are punished with death (although on second thought, the angels who fell into hell fared much worse).

Well, as you saw we could be talking about Paradise Lost for a long time and most likely even more doubts will arise about the whole thing. What I can say about Satan, sorry, I didn’t really talk much about him as a character, is that in his speech we can find a lot of facets with which we can identify, his charismatic personality really provokes thought, even makes you want to forget that we are in the presence of the evil one par excellence. That impulse to not give up in the face of adversity, from the depths of hell to the earthly paradise, the pride that leads him to face beings much more powerful than himself (fallen in disgrace, I think that in his normal state things would have been different) are all characteristics that lead him to the deserved position of main character of the story. Without fear of being wrong, I can say that Paradise Lost is a story that is completely advanced for its own time, I would even say that in its pages we can find qualities that, without a doubt, have served as inspiration for later stories, such as the saga of “The Lord of the Rings” and even modern stories, such as Japanese animations and the like. But, above all, I can point out that the discourse on freedom that we find in its pages elevates the story to a higher level within the stories of its genre.

The positive:

  • Satan as the protagonist of the story.
  • The battle between the angels.
  • The speech about freedom.

Negatives:

  • The pile of titles for some characters slows down the story.
  • Jesus is too OP in the war of the angels (joke!).

In short… read or die!

Compliance (2012)

Well, this time I think things are a little more difficult than in previous occasions, what can we say about Compliance? This film manages to articulate a story based on what Hannah Arendt described, after her investigation into the crimes of the Nazis against the Jewish people, as the “banality of evil” (but I’m not saying that the film is about Nazis or about Hanna Arendt!). The first thing I can say is that the hour and a half that the film lasts is a difficult journey to endure, the series of situations that occur from the beginning, the growing tension that does not stop and that becomes increasingly claustrophobic gives evidence of the immense ability of the director Craig Zobel to keep us on the edge of our seats, wishing more than anything else that the situation would stop, but at the same time, we know that it will not stop and that things are going to get worse and worse.

But… why did I start remembering Hannah Arendt’s research? Well, because the term “compliance”, which is the name of the film, refers to a characteristic of human psychology in which an individual blindly submits to a request, when this request comes from a person that the individual feels as his or her hierarchical superior. Hannah Arendt went a step further in this respect by describing the motives that led so many Nazi officers and soldiers to commit the horrible attempts on the lives of thousands of people, only to defend themselves by saying that all they had done was obey orders. The banality of the evil consists then in the justification, especially of the officers, who simply could not see the evil they were committing, blinded perhaps by the desire for promotion in their professional careers and having treated the whole affair as one of a merely bureaucratic nature. And it is this same behavior that we find in the protagonist of the story, Sandra Fumm, the manager of a fast food branch, played masterfully by Ann Dowd, who is confronted with a phone call in which an alleged police officer asks her to arrest one of her employees, accused by this same person of stealing from one of the customers. All it takes is for “Officer Daniels” to tell Sandra that he has been in contact with her superior, and she follows all the instructions he gives her, accusing Becky, the alleged thief, without any evidence, and proceeds to strip search her. From here and until the end of the film we witness, time and again, behaviors completely out of line with morality, many of which are recognized by those who commit them (I am referring to Van, Sandra’s boyfriend) but which, nevertheless, they cannot but carry out, in the face of the danger of losing something themselves.

In terms of cinematography, it is important to note that the film presents a different kind of story and characters than what we are used to as spectators. From the choice of the main location, the fast food restaurant and its narrow corridors and rooms, to the conflicts that are generated between the characters, all anchored to the hierarchical structure of an ordinary work. It is important to point out that the main character, Sandra, is not a character with a dramatic arc or who learns a lesson during the development of the film, but she stays in the same position from the beginning. Even in the end, when she is being interviewed about what happened and she declares to be completely innocent, we witness a person who cannot see the impact her own actions have had on others. It is here that the concept that Hannah Arendt coined at the end of her investigations clearly appears, this blindness caused by the indiscriminate desire to remain on the side of the law, of the hierarchy, in an attempt to protect one’s own life, at the expense of autonomy and moral judgment.

In conclusion, I would like to say that Compliance is a film that I think many people should see, because it makes it clear that we human beings are subject to mistakes far beyond what we would like to recognize. The fact that an innocent person can go through a hell like Becky did, while doing a job that wasn’t even transcendental to her, because of another person for whom things did seem to be more transcendental, but again, for all the wrong reasons, is a much closer reality than it seems, since the story in the film is based on real events.

The good stuff:

  • The dramatic intensity that grows with every moment.
  • The outstanding performances of all the characters involved in Becky’s arrest.
  • The final dialogue of the protagonist.

The bad:

  • The beginning of the movie can be uninteresting.

In short… watch or die!