Sunday 16 September 2007

Close to the bone

Surfing the net as you do, your bound to read something that annoys you somewhat. Be it reading a youtube comment which states that "all niggers should be shoved in jail" to another front bottom being flashed by Paris Lohan or whoever, which will be followed by every girl like everywhere. That's life I guess. The point iis the last thing to annoy me on the net was Ben Afflecks directional debut Gone Baby Gone being postponed.

The film is set in Boston and deals with two investigators who are hunting for an abducted child.
First of all what happened in Portugal is an upsetting tragedy. The disappearance of the child must bear a heavy weight on the parents and their brief moment of negligence has brought about a terrible cloud on their lives. With this said despite it's subject matter being so very close to the case, this movie shouldn't be halted from release because it may or may not hit close to the bone.

The film (which was filmed last year) and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have just so happened to coincide with each other and while this is unfortunate for those who who may be close to the family and those who are sensitive about art being so close to reality but why keep the film away from the public eye until the case is forgotten about? Considering the distributor is Buena Vista International and the director is still quite a recognisable star (despite not being as bankable) I do believe the film will make its way out onto our shores later on next year. But why delay on a subject that is still on peoples lips months on?

There's been many films in history that have sparked debate and brought around insight for many reasons. Films such as Birth of a Nation (KKK) and The Triumph of will (Nazis) have made a huge imprint in film for many reasons. Their outlook on their subject matter have caused great discussion and they can't be ignored no matter what evil may lay behind the message. It's important that some films, despite the subject matter become educational pinpoints; creative moments that show how we've developed since.

Some films can become talking points and standout issues of the society in which they are set in. Gus Van Sants Elephant sparked controversy with it's subject matter of gun violence. It ignited the gun control debate yet again and may have allegedly sparked shootings afterward. While it disturbs me that there are a minority of people who can become greatly affected by what they see or hear and act upon it in violence, films like Elephant hint that these issues may come a little deeper than a person simply watching Oldboy and playing Doom.

Many could argue that the film coming out at this time is merely too soon. But I would like to argue maybe it feels this way due to media exploitation. Every day the tabloids have brought us fresh "facts" about this case. So much so that other tragedies have come and have quickly faded out of few. The awful tragedy of Rhyes Jones says a lot about our society of escalating gun crime however the issues around that have almost vanished without a trace. The media were quick to heap onto our new violent culture but nothing was done when Nick Love's Outlaw sneaked into the cinema earlier this year. In fact Love's obsession with gangsters, violence and youth in his films such as The Football Factory and The Business don't seem to have been commented on much at all. Add to the fact that Love supposedly based Outlaw on news articles and peoples true stories it's surprising that nothing was said let alone done.

Back to my original point on the media...we are given massive two page spreads stating that we should remember Maddie. This is a good point considering the same paper has probably spent 6 to 8 pages sprouting hearsay. Much like the Princess Diana case we are told how people are pigs for what they may be doing to the memory however the "viewpoint" to many seems that another Diana spread will sell a few more papers. While film is a business and Gone baby Gone's first objective is to make money the story was extremely relevant to our times in the first place and for Affleck to pick a story such as this is an interesting aspect. He clearly sees something in the story worth telling.

But will others wish to see it? That of course is another story. But one that the masses should really be allowed to decide. A black man such as myself isn't going to be looking out for KKK websites to check out the hate am I? In the same vein I've had friends face moments in their life which would make Eli Roth wince. However that doesn't mean I won't sit down and watch Hostel.It's that piece of mind that we have that allows you to make a choice. As sensitive as the subject is, I do not feel that we should be babied into or out of a situation. This postponement shows to me that people don't believe we can't make up our minds. If there's something we do not like the look of we avoid it. It's fight or flee a very basic instinct of our nature. Why delay something like this and soften the blow when the release of the film would spark fresh debate when the irons hot? Many topical/controversial movies can be on point and strong contenders for critical praise and discussion between cinephiles and average joes. However this cannot happen if films are being apprehended and banned before viewing.

My issue is if Gone Baby Gone could cause a great effect then the film will vanish without a trace. If it was to become a hit, it would be because: A. people would want to see insight into what may happen in a child abduction case. B. The reviews were good and Affleck has made a generally affecting film. C. The trailer has made the film something people would like to see. The filmmakers aren't making money off of people's pain and if they were, it would be extremely clear for all of us to see.

And before we even start to think it's in poor taste for the McCann family. Do you think at this moment in time that that family give a damn about a Hollywood film while their child is missing?