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Man on Fire   May 1 2004

Filed under Menticulture by Ewen Shearer

The sun is harsh in Mexico City. Highlights burned, shade evil dark, and saturation in the eye of the beholder.

As usual, our friends the film critics have been too long in the hot sun – and forgot to remove their shades come curtain-rise.

Scott gets a right rogering for his polished effort, a marathon held together (for those of us short on sophistication) by a scorching blend of the redeemed dispensing redemption.

Fortunately the paying popcorn public have attention spans greater than panning pundits. Not a minute wasted, nor any essential frame left on the cutting room floor. Two hours, twenty-six minutes of engrossing and carefully crafted tension.

Mexico City is the fall guy, its corruption implicit, the context given. While Daniel Eagan lands a blow: "Giving credit to Mexico City after spending two hours depicting it as the worst hellhole…" considerable affection limned Mexitli merit before turning to its ugly underside.

And why did Lupita need be American, or her mum? Empathy might exalt authenticity beyond Scott’s wildest had he cast dark-eyed indigenous before brassy blondes.

Man on Fire builds and builds, no looking back. Falters not. It leads where we expect: to love, to lose, to go vigilante. Director Tony Scott knows his target better than specialist John Creasy (Denzel) his – and considerably more than Box Office Bon Vivants.

To be a movie critic – let me explain to the oft-disappointed who forgo two hours of keenly anticipated pleasure on the word of dire cynics – requires first that you lose faith in the message. The movie is, well … "heavy-handed and stiff, longwinded .. jittery .. trash .. meaningless(ly) stylistic .. conventionally dopey action plot .. "

To be a film fokker further specifies obsession with medium at expense of message. Whilst we who watch films for pleasure sit lapping every instant of vintage Scott, Washington, Walken and (if such endurance should apply to a child) Fanning, our picky pundits see only .. "intrusive, fake-stylish camera tricks — jump cuts, speeded-up changes in light, colour, saturation and focal depth."

Oh dear! Thank goodness I didn’t see any of that. What film were they watching (forced yet again to enquire)? Sure, there was some high-saturation, high-contrast, but Scott successfully masked potentially indecent violence with such documentary subliminals.

We saw it, acknowledged the ploy, forgave, and urged him to proceed with the nasty lesson.

Like any hero tale around the campfire, we impotent meek of this barbaric age gain solace in comics of sweet revenge.

Whilst treating yourself (go on!) you will notice upon the screen no hysteria, no hyperbole, little licence, nada neurotics — just professionals. All Creasy hears is "I’m a professional" – all you will see is professionals. Economy, temperance, efficiency, taste and ambience.

And time to reflect, a waning luxury in our modern hyper-flicks.

Down Under


Ink Irresistable

Not the NYT Montaigne's what would I know? Huxley's almost anything about almost everything. Or Bierce and nothing matters. Codifying life's inimitable impromptu inclines irrestistably to essay.

Civilization ..

   defiles itself

Times past when warlords, priests and royalty hoarded luxury, life was a short grim struggle. Today most want for little yet still deny dignified survival to working poor, and ravage entire countries as collateral to our laissez faire fiesta.
double arrowOn not shedding a tear ..

A Century of Imperialism

     ..hasn't dulled the urge

American foreign policy never a pretty sight, finesse of the mobile crane chase from Terminator 3. Export democracy? Cure worse than disease. double arrow Read more ..


~ its own reward

And what's going on in Land of the Free, Home of the Brave? As 40% of kids fail graduation the Iraqistan wars suck $2.4 trillion [CBO 2017 est]. Imagine this staggering sum applied to rebuilding The Great Society. Think of others.
double arrow Where Charity Begins

This lazy unemployed

..crack-smoking welfare queen ran up U$15 trillion debt

lazy homeless scum
Odd how the ultra-wealthy gull even working poor to blame unemployed, disabled, weak, and vulnerable while but for the grace of God go all.

If he's a welfare leech then your soul is with the sociopaths and predators who own Warshington and its minions, the Repugnicans and Dumfocrats, gutting a once noble nation that aspired to equality.

This elite will survive the US economic train wreck, land softly on 300 million plundered taxpayers, then from fortresses of luxury and privilege prey elsewhere for spoils.

The dawn of civilization was greatly exaggerated.

Munch Montage

Painters, such a sad old bunch
None it seems more so than Munch
Upon that bridge with skies afire
A meme took flight to never tire.
2arrow gif

Quote Me

"I am an obsessive rewriter, doing one draft and then another and another. In a way I have nothing to say but a great deal to add
~ Gore Vidal

"Rulers of state are the only ones who should have the privilege of lying" (Well, that explains the last 2500 years)
~ Plato

"By 'known unknowns' I was referring to the universe's dark matter.."
~ Donald Rumsfeld

"I have neither time nor inclination to communicate the fullness of my heart in speech, I am resolved to do it in writing, and to print myself out.."
~ Joseph Addison