Friday, March 14, 2014

On Nonstop

Non Stop (it is two words yes?  Because whenever I searched for it otherwise I got nothing but results for something, well, other than what I was looking for.) is one of the better action movies I’ve seen.  Probably one of the best when you remove sci-fi action movies from the list.  It’s an intelligent, witty, well-constructed and ideological action movie along the lines of Die Hard, which I consider to be the best in this category.  I analyze the political themes contained in the Die Hard films in-length in another essay; in this one however, I’ll assume people have seen the movie – I’ll only be comparing the film to the first Die Hard – and picked up the most obvious message of it.
Seldom do Action films have you guess who the culprit(s) behind the bomb plot or whatever it may be is (are) – and this film does it extraordinarily well.  I was convinced almost until the end that one of the pilots was behind it or one of the people behind it.  It seemed perfect considering that he was spending all his time asking the passengers to empty their pockets, show their cell phones and were being monitored by Liam Neeson at almost every moment.  To have the co-pilot texting him while everyone in the audience is playing elimination with the passengers would have been genius – I’ll have to start working on the plot or would if I didn’t have such a massive audience I just gave away my major plot twist to.  Who the terrorists are, the distinction ‘tween the two and how they orchestrate this however is also brilliant and deserves to be commended. 
There are few actors that have been in as many intelligent films well-executed in its ideological message or representation of the world and humanity.  Taken is a rather bland and stupid action movie with a vague anti-European message.  The Grey is a brilliant existentialist and even explicitly atheist movie about the human condition and us being alone in the Universe to fend for ourselves and make our own lot in life.  Unknown is a work of genius in its expression of both Anti-Capitalist ideals and have us question the nature of identity, being and whether a split personality should be punished for what his other personality long-gone has committed, much like the Edward Norton law movie (or Total Recall to some extent) but without the twist – absolutely brilliant by the way – of having it be a farce the entire time, with Total Recall of course the farce would be not of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s personality and motives, but of the very plot of the film at a certain point within it. 
Returning to the comparison, in Die Hard however we know almost immediately Hans Grubber is the villain though our hero John McClain isn’t privy to this knowledge.  Not only this, but his (or their if you’re considering the motive of the entire crime group) motive of base profit and not the release of significant Communist figures from their respective prisons is revealed to us almost from the get-go as-well.  The analogy of course being that we are led to believe that the Communist Boogie Man or terrorists are our main concern or problem to deal with; but it’s really a thin charade constructed by people who profit from bamboozling others to believe this and only care about said financial gain.
In a way Non Stop is the ideological successor to Die Hard.  Die Hard shows us that Capitalists who care nothing about ideals with create fear of “Leftist Radicals” so they can rob us blind.  Non Stop expresses that Right-wingers to have their own ideological narratives and extremists, seen in the façade of only wanting cash being implemented to further the security that the Right-wing extremist thinks is desperately lacking.  Of course people die more from undercooked food, other food-related deaths, driving, smoking, drinking, pharmacy drug abuse or simply overdose, police brutality and for all I know dog attacks more than terrorists hijacking planes but Right-wing extremists aren’t exactly the most level-headed or reasonable of blokes so telling them this probably wouldn’t do much asides from perhaps initiate your own execution. 
There are two orchestrators of the bomb-plot in Non stop’s storyline.  One is clearly deranged and believes what he is doing is in service to his country.  This represents the Fascist/Tea Bagger Terrorist mentality of being delusional and willing to sacrifice his life for his warped perception of the common good; whether that be blowing up a plane or hiding in the woods and “taking back” the Government out of paranoia of massive gun seizures taking place or money going to help the unfortunate, ahhhck, excuse me, defile God’s will and everything every God-fearing Christian holds dear by funding Planned Parenthood, making abortions not a thing of shame and making birth control accessible.  The “Techie” in the movie however, while he is mildly Conservative, and believes in the cause he started, clearly cares more about the money than about “showing something” or completing his mission at the expense of his life.  This clearly shows the base self-interested side of Right-wing ideology and psychology and having the two work together and support the other to complete their mission of creating death and ignorance (in the form of creating a false narrative to support their political goals) shows how the two main elements of the Right aid the other.  I.e. how Fascism and Capitalism go hand-in-hand.
The Capitalists help the Christian Right by creating the conditions of ignorance and intellectual poverty to make people more pliable to Right-wing and religious modes of “thought”; while the Christians support free-market ideology, selfishness and several dozen people having the same amount of money as billions, contradicting the main essence of their teachings, to both create the suffering needed for people to be religious, the need for private religious charities rather than more-effective state-run alevement programs to create the false-perception of religion being a force for good in this world and to receive the funding of the Capitalists they wouldn’t receive if they were true to Jesus of Nazareth’s teachings.  The Profiteers need the Mystics and the Mystics need the Profiteers (once technology and other secular forces are allowed to some significant extent to aleve the plight of human suffering.  But of course this plight cannot be eradicated to a large degree, because then what you would have is people free and intelligent enough to see past religious or financial hierarchies and you would have – both in the effect of this and simply by what it means to properly aleve human misery – Socialism.) in our modern world the degree one exists is almost entirely dependent on the health of the other; like two parasites that most work symbiotically to effectively drain their host’s blood.  Whether ideology or hoarding of capital is the main culprit in the modern world is revealed in a distinction between the two films.
Having the villains of Non Stop work in the shadows, while Hans Gruber has taken over the Nagasaki (look up name of building) building is also a representation of how the Right functions.  The motive of profit is plain for all to see and they only thinly hide their selfishness and apathy towards human suffering occasionally by organizing charities that if legitimate don’t counteract a hundredth of the suffering and misery they’ve profited from.  However until recently their ties to Far-right wing religious, anti-abortion, anti-minority organizations was under a shroud.  Chick Fillet may proudly proclaim their bigotry and hatred towards gays, but Salvation Army and various other organizations are also thirsty for the blood of The Third Reich, and not out of thirst for vengeance.  The profit whoring and squandering of resources is open for all to see but is hidden through the stupidity and apathy of the public.  The strongest perversions and sickness of the Rich however is deliberately hidden. Their intense dislike of health care, minimum wage and improved schooling; any loosening of suffering on any group of people outside their class anywhere is something they view as a threat to not only their earnings but the economic, political and cultural power that allowed such earnings to manifest in the first-place.  Such can only come to pass through perpetuating ignorance and apathy towards others in the half-way intelligent and blatant miss-information, hatred and raving Right-wing Christian fanaticism in the stupid.
Whether or not the film is coherent with the text messages between Bill Marks and the two high-jackers is something to consider however.  Even when Marks has bound the more zealous terrorist and he has placed his phone into the lawyer’s pocket he receives text messages, assumingly from the greedier terrorist.  It is essentially impossible to see which of the two was texting him before but we assume the more delusional one due-to both the wording of the text messages and the ringer-virus setting off his phone, not the phone of his accomplice.  However, the accomplice must have somehow been able to send text messages with the same number so it would show up as a message coming from the same phone, or rather so it would be in the same stream of text messages.  This is technically or at-the-very-least theoretically possible but why his phone doesn’t go off then is mysterious.  If he had his phone on ringer instead of silent when the virus was being sent – theoretically to both phones with the same number – would it turn it to silent while the other phone’s ringer is being set-off?
Having the films hero be named Bill Marks is also potentially part of its ideological narrative.  To save the passengers he moves them all out of “business class” and to the back of the plane.  Essentially destroying the business class by having no one reside within it.  The Right-wingers want to frame Marks as the real terrorist by making him look horrible and demented out of some more-or-less trivial character flaws.  As someone who went insane after his daughter died – but though he seemed to have no exit strategy wanted to force the air line to transfer one hundred and fifty million dollars into his bank account?  That’s the main flaw in the film.  If Marks was going to be believed to be the terrorist, if he detonates the bomb and kills himself he can’t get the money he’s demanding.  You could argue that those in charge after the explosion would piece together a narrative that he was going to try to escape via parachute or some other means but failed to do so; but the fact remains that if he blows up the plane and escapes he essentially loses all leverage to steal millions from anyone.  Also If the account is in a trust couldn’t the Government of the EU or America look up whose accounts said money will go to?  It could all be fake names, but they still could be traced back to the actual people fairly easy it seems.  And finally I thought the line “Are you bribing me?” from the little girl was a poor attempt at humor which didn’t make any sense.  With a ribbon?  Yes, he’s bribing you with a ribbon.  It’s all yours kiddo.  Your cup runneth over.
The zealous terrorist’s line of “you can only change the world with words if you’re writing in blood” is nonsense.  People hear about violence, car wrecks, the sick, and the miserable (to a much diluted degree) every day and yet change even in level of concern fails to occur.  People are conditioned into apathy and Nationalism – not concerning themselves with the plight of foreign lands – and hearing the facts of reality does almost nothing.  What does is gaining the education and the faculties of critical thinking and analysis to examine how and why the awful things in the world occur and how to instead foster tranquility and progress rather than violence and overall decline.  Ultimately showing the major difference between a ideological narrative based off of force, intimidation and more subtle social pressures while still holding to increase the net-value of humanity (i.e. Capitalism and religion) and a materialist one that actually shows how evil originates (at-least in some of its facets) and how we can effectively confront it in a preventative rather than combative manner an example of which is the security precautions that Marks wanted to implement.  The major distinction of course being that Marx thought that we must be combative to attain the social conditions in-which we can use resources rationally and implement them in a precautionary manner and one based overall on utility and rationality.

A final note:  It adds to the humor of Marks’ line, “what money?” when told he needs to give it back when one considers that Karl Marx was poor and asked others for money throughout most of his life.

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