is a tough film to watch because there is so much struggle, and much
of it ends badly. We’re
, fighting the urban war, house to house, alleyway by alleyway.
The platoon sergeant (Ryan Phillippe) unwittingly leads his
men into an ambush, losing some in the process, and something snaps
in him. Formerly a
conscientious leader, now he can’t wait to get out.
When the time finally comes, he discovers that he is denied
his discharge. The Army
can’t afford to lose him, so they just keep him against his will.
Because they can. And
because it’s a way to “stop the loss” of troop strength.
He and his buddies are on temporary leave, where they take
turns taking leave of their senses, much to the chagrin of their
families and friends, who, understandably, don’t know what to do
to help the situation. Neither
do we. And neither does
our military. The slide
show/overture at the beginning will set the somber mood, and there
are no laughs to ameliorate. A
serious treatment of a neglected topic in a tragic context.
Counterfeiters” (Die Falscher):
Another serious treatment of a neglected topic in a tragic
“Sally” Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics) is a Russian-born
high-rolling German counterfeiter, enjoying himself in cabaret
in 1936. But the world
is crashing around him. He’s
arrested as a criminal, but the fact that he’s a Jew, as well,
assures his being shipped immediately to a concentration camp, where
he breaks rocks with a sledgehammer all day, and figures that nobody
there will last very long. But
the police detective who captured him is now an SS Officer, who
“rescues” Sally by putting his pre-wartime profession to good
use. They set up a
counterfeiting shop, which cranks out very authentic-looking British
pound sterling notes, which the Nazis use in Swiss banks to finance
their war effort. Sally,
being a convicted criminal in the first place, doesn’t suffer the
moral pangs that other prisoners in his shop do about aiding and
abetting the enemy, and living in relative comfort and ease while so
much suffering and death surround them. He does, however, live by
his own code of ethics, which includes caring for the other
prisoners when they are ill or injured, and not preventing them from
sabotaging his best efforts. By the time the long-delayed
counterfeit American dollar is developed, it’s too late.
The war is obviously crashing to its inevitable conclusion.
Will they ever walk out of the camp alive?
Will they be punished for their part in assisting the Third
Reich? Will they be
treated as traitors by the other surviving prisoners?
If they do manage to return to civilian life, how much
permanent effect has their long-term incarceration had on their
psyches? Nominated for
an academy award for best foreign language film.
And a true story.
Point” is not a true story, but it does treat truth as somewhat
relative, depending on point of view.
The President of the
(William Hurt), while visiting
for an economic conference, is gunned own in a crowded plaza, and we
get the story re-told from several perspectives:
the newscasters, the Secret Service agents, the terrorists,
apparently innocent bystanders, and the President himself. There’s
little “down time” in this turbocharged movie, as we, the
viewers, are doled out the plot piece by piece, sorting through some
of the contradictions, until all converges into a monumental chase
scene at the end. No
time for love or humor. Yes,
perspective is relative, as is point of view.
But truth isn’t.
Should “Stop/Loss” be allowed in
When is truth relative to perspective
and vantage point, and when is it absolute? (see John 18: 33-38)
Is the War on Terror a permanent
condition of our culture?
Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church,