Not Recommended. I wanted to see this movie because of the fact that it was shelved and redone by Renny Harlin. Well, I wanted to see why they studio felt they would lose so much money that they would need to remake it. And now I see why. Boy, Studios are not always stupid. This is a version done by Paul Shrader, who may never direct again. And he has a Christian past, which would make you think he would deal with spiritual things well, but think again. This is supposed to be the story of Father Merrin BEFORE the Exorcist movie, that is, his past. This movie was really bad. Bad acting by the melodramatic young priest, and female lead. Bad writing, bad directing. First mistake was the first scene, which was supposed to be Merrin’s past of having to chose which Jews to kill by the Nazis, which is what causes him to lose his faith but remain an archeologist. Well, the lead Nazi starts with a slight German accent and then loses it entirely. This was terrible. And the scene was boringly edited and acted. This was a sign of the rest of the movie. A couple good things about the movie: One theme of evil, “No one wanted to believe the atrocities of Hitler were going on. It’s easier to believe evil is random rather than the fact that it is in everyone and everyone is capable of it.” Another thoughtful idea spoken by a priest, “Faith’s ultimate strength lies in its ability to strengthen men, not conquer evil.” That’s cool. Many times, the faithful are martyred or do not in fact experience worldy victory, because God has something else he is teaching them. Winning in losing. Some ridiculous elements. Okay, sometimes you can make something eerie and evil by doing the opposite, by showing something that is normally mundane as an expression of evil. Irony helps surprise the audience and see things a new way. However, in this movie, it is done in such a poor way that it is really quite laughable. One of the “evil ironies” is that they have some cattle kill a herd of hyenas. Of course, we don’t see it, we just see the after effects of a few cows in a field around a bunch of dead hyena bodies. And then they show a bad CG shot of a cattle chewing on hyena remains. It was something out of Attack of the Killer Tomatos. Of course, there are the cliché characters, like the stupid priest who thinks the spirit of our Savior is in a demon possessed kid. The big showdown between the faithless priest and the demon possessed child was almost purely metaphysical and not even interesting. The big Showdown was the priest quoting Roman rites of exorcism as the demon possessed man cowered with each phrase. But it lacked entirely any real drama to it. No stakes. Okay a couple cool things: The demon possessed man came to look very much like an Eastern Buddha or avatar figure, which I like. Also, a couple of great lines from the demon that show us the truth in its opposite form, “ You hate God and why not? He gives you guilt.” The big temptation was telling the priest that he could “cease to care” which would protect himself. And when the priest finally faces this demon, he gets on his knees at home and asks God to forgive him for his unbelief. Very cool repentance. But silly special effects, like stuff out of the 70s or 80s. Overall, this film is a waste of time, but on the other hand, it’s good to see movies illustrating that there is real personal evil in the world, and you can’t brush that away with your pomo relativism. But alas, a failed poor quality attempt to do so.
Highly Recommended for mature viewers (Lots of harsh “language”). This is an incredible movie about prejudice and bigotry that has an even-handed portrayal of all sides of the issue. Rather than just another cliché “victimizing” movie about racism against one minority by the majority, this film illustrates the prejudice at the heart of ALL classes, rich and poor, majority and minority, conservative and liberal, White, Black, Asian, Middle Eastern and others. It’s a special genre film that I have dubbed “Providential Ensemble:” A story about multiple unconnected character’s individual stories that providentially connect by the end of the film to reinforce a special theme. These movies have such great power to communicate theme because they portray the theme from so many angles, therefore being an exploration more universal or wide than a single story. But they also tend to reinforce a providential view of reality that we are all interconnected, even if we don’t think we are. That is, we all are experiencing our own stories with ourselves as heros in our own stories, but we don’t realize that every other person has just as complex and intimate human experiences as we do. By using multiple intersecting plots rather than merely subplots of one person’s main plot, we get a “God’s eye view” of the value of other people by seeing that they have stories just as important and valuable as we do. That is, all those people we see at a distance as we go through our own stories, have their own stories just as important to them as ours are to us, whether we know it or not. The “God’s eye view” of this helps us to connect the providential dots and appreciate the value of others. Movies of this genre are Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Three Days in the Valley, Go, Pulp Fiction, Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, Magnolia, and others. And I think I would have to say that this is my absolute favorite genre of film. In Crash, we are introduced to the story at a large multiple car accident. One of the characters in the film telegraphs the theme of the movie with the very first words of the film, “In L.A. nobody touches you. We’re all separated by glass and steel. We have to crash into each other just to feel something.” And the movie then proceeds to show how we prejudge people who are “distant” from us, that is, different than us, separate from us. We have to “crash” into them to realize how human they really are and how they are very much like us. It’s so easy to reduce others to inhuman stereotypes in order to justify our anger when they hurt us. But when we intersect with them on a human level, we see our prejudices for what they really are: often reflections of our own anger, not reality. I say “often” because the downside to stereotypes is that they exist for a reason. Every lie is based on some truth, and the fact is that, culturally, we do tend towards homogeneity and this complicates things. There are in fact certain cultural patterns to every race, but these are cultural, not racial, that is, not intrinsic to the race. When we attribute it to the race, we are bigoted, but when we recognize its cultural origins, we go along way toward understanding the truth behind the lie. Anyway, the story is loaded with all the kinds of racial stereotypes you can imagine, black, white, Hispanic, Persian, Asian, etc. There is a litany of absolute idiocies, like how people make their racial claim about a person, and they’re not even right about the race! Which really shows the stupidity of much prejudice. For instance, a black man makes remarks about Lazy Mexicans to a woman he thinks is Mexican, but she reveals to him that she is not Mexican, but El Salvadoran! Another guy makes a remark about an “Arab store owner,” who he doesn’t realize is Persian, not Arab! A very light skinned black woman married to a black man is misperceived as a white woman in a mixed marriage. But she’s not! Then there are also the traditional victims of bigotry shown to have their own bigotry. A black kid complains of how racist every white person is in thinking he’s a criminal, just cause he’s black, and he DOES turn out to be a criminal! An Asian man and woman selling their own people into slavery! We see a rich white woman complain about her Hispanic housekeeper, and that housekeeper turns out to be the only one willing to help the white lady when she hurts herself in a fall! There is the Hispanic locksmith who looks like a gang kid, but is a loving father. But then he thinks he can get away from evil by moving away from the bad neighborhood, yet the crime follows him into the “safe” neighborhood when a Persian man filled with hatred FALSELY believing the Hispanic is guilty of having the Persian’s store ransacked, hunts him down to shoot him. And the reality is that it was the Persian storekeeper’s own irresponsible impatience that cause the ransacking! Tons of reversals in this movie makes you really think about the reality and blindness of prejudice on ALL levels. One of the most human and thought-provoking aspect was how the movie showed that even bigots are capable of great goodness and “non-bigots” are capable of great evil. The racist cop who hates blacks and even “molests” a woman while unjustly searching her, ends up saving that same woman later, in a “chance” encounter by risking his own life and pulling her from a burning car. Then the cop’s partner, who can’t stand the cop’s racism, asks to be reassigned, and he ends of shooting a black kid, thinking he’s pulling a gun on him, when the kid wasn’t! In another turn of events, the hard edged car jacking black kid who is racist against those he thinks are racist against him, ends up rescuing some Thai people from being sold into slavery because he recognizes the value of people! And as he is letting them go, we hear him spew out a few racial remarks of insensitivity, so that we see that we are not simple cut and dry good or bad people. And then there’s the black Sergeant at the precinct that allows bigotry against other blacks to maintain his own secure position in the force. There is also the situation where men use a racist claim to falsely frame a man in order to bring him down. In other words, the mere accusation of racism unfairly destroys people’s lives. We are all a confusing mixture of good and evil in this world. No one is exempt from prejudice. But the great positive power of this movie is that it also shows that no one is exempt or incapable of doing great good, not even criminals! This is a real redeeming movie because it’s not about MERELY showing our hypocrisy and concluding with a glib nihilism disguised as “realism” that we’re all hopeless, but rather it incarnates positive actions overcoming prejudice as well. But it’s kinda funny, cause when you think of it, the movie itself engages in stereotyping those who stereotype others. You have the “rich white woman” who is afraid of blacks, and the “rich white woman” who has a Hispanic maid. You have the racist cop who’s racist because of working around blacks, but he is loving to his own jerk of a father. You have the “Middle Eastern store owner who refuses to learn English.” You have the District Attorney liberal who thinks in terms of racial favoritism to help his career. Get photo ops of himself with a black fireman, that kind of stuff. HE doesn’t even realize his patronizing IS racism too! In other words, this film is truly profound because it does not reduce the issue down to a cut and dry accusation like a Spike Lee movie, it shows that prejudice cuts all ways, and prejudice is an evil, but it is not an all encompassing, total definition of a person because people we may call “bigots” are sometimes the most compassionate people in other ways in society. They have a blind spot. What is OUR blind spot? This is a complex issue that demands a wise balanced exploration and Crash gives it one hundred percent quality, like King Solomon would. I have one personal desire for a storyline I would have liked to see in the movie. In Crash they had a TV producer story that was good in showing how TV perpetuates stereotypes by forcing black characters to talk ghetto. But I would have liked to have seen what I happen to know is a major problem at Television studios, and that is the racism of affirmative action, where they force way too many minorities into roles that do not reflect the broader culture at large. I know personally of some one who has experienced a studio putting persons in roles BECAUSE they were minorities even though they were not the best actors for the parts. And the irony was that one person was supposed to be filling a Japanese quota, but THEY WERE CHINESE! Oh well, I guess you can’t do all stories.
Not Recommended. A gazillion dollar extravagant waste of two and a half hours. Yeah! It’s finally over! Sorry, Star Wars fans, I only like the original two, Episodes 4 and 5. But there were a few cool things in this one. The Special effects were great, but empty and ultimately boring because the drama was so uninspiring. Also, very cool how Lucas was able to weave together a story that would ultimately set up for A New Hope and Empire, and explain the background for them. Ridiculous lines: After a crash landing, Obi Wan says, “Another happy landing.” Overall cool concept of the analogy with Hitler’s Germany, the story replicates how Hitler, seized power to make Germany his empire while being a Chancellor with emergency powers. Order 66: the execution of all the Emperor’s enemies and Jedis was a reflection of the Night of the Long Knives in 1934 when Hitler killed his questionable enemies in the SA and elsewhere. Okay, I liked that analogy. Battles: Boring. Especially when they are fighting droids, who are merely little machines. There is no seriousness to destroying machines, no human element to make it scary. Unforgivable inconsistent philosophy: Obi Wan tells Anakin to go ahead and deal with the senate because, “I’m not brave enough for politics. I have to report to the counsel (of Jedi).” And what, may I ask, is a counsel of Jedis, BUT A FREAKIN’ POLITICAL BODY that is just as political as the Senate?! And all in the same sentence is this contradiction. Unforgivable, it is. When the “turned” Anakin says to Obi Wan, in an obvious reference to Jesus, “you are either for me or against me,” Obi says, “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” But then a few minutes later, Obi tells Anakin the “Chancellor is evil.” Oh? Well, Mr. supposed-to-be-wise-man, if there are no absolutes, then how can you call the Chancellor evil? Are you a Sith now? Actually, Anakin responds with a good line that reveals the dark side as Relativistic: “From my point of view, the Jedi are evil.” I think this is great. The evil side are postmoderns and relativistic. The bad guy even says the Jedi are “narrow minded and dogmatic, we must study all sides of the force to understand the bigger picture.” Yeah! All you relativists and pomos out there are victims of the dark side. Na na na na! But then Lucas contradicts himself because to be dogmatic, as he says the Jedi are, is to be absolutistic, which is what Obi said the Sith were. Sheesh! Stop the pain! But the contradictions don’t stop. More Buddhist B.S. occurs when Anakin is told by a Jedi that “Fear of loss is a path to the dark side. Attachment leads to jealousy, Let go of everything you fear to lose.” This Eastern style philosophy of detachment is what makes the East so cruel and heartless to pain and suffering. They fight against compassion, you know the kind of thing that Jesus said we should have with the suffering. But instead this “detachment” makes Eastern culture into a barbaric cruelty to those who suffer, by ignoring them, and avoiding the attachment that love brings to the object of affection. This is why Eastern monks are so heartless and uncompassionate. They cannot make true human connection because that would be attachment. This is definitely the philosophy of Hollywood celebrity. The Eastern worldview is soulless and cruel. Here is a great ridiculous line that telegraphs the poor philosophy that this whole mythology is about. When Obi can’t find someone he is looking for, Yoda tells him, “Use your feelings, and find him, you will.” Well, obviously the line should be “use the Force.” So we see that the Force really is just a metaphor for your feelings. Once again, follow your heart, not an absolute objective truth. Let your feelings rule you. Well, I’ve got to stop. I’ve already given this blog way too much time on this unworthy movie.
Not really recommended. Ridley Scott is one of the finest filmmakers in Hollywood. He is really quite brilliant with the look of all his films from Alien on up to Gladiator. But this movie turns out to be another Troy, a humanistic dismissal of religion. It deals with the Crusade of 1184 and focuses on a young Blacksmith, Balian, who becomes a knight and make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in order to insure his dead wife’s forgiveness for committing suicide, a decidedly non-Christian motive. His estranged father, encourages him to go to Jerusalem because all can be forgiven there in the Holy City, “a better world, a kingdom of conscience,” now presided over by a good Christian king who allows Christians, Jews and Muslims to live together in peace. Balian’s theme is pretty much spelled out in the plaque he has over his blacksmith shop: “What man is a man who does not make the world better.” (by the end of this movie, this saying ends up meaning, “be good without God, cause being good matters more than religion”) Okay, there are some good qualities in this movie that I have to give credit to: It does show good knights and bad knights. At least they are not all marauding pillagers of infidels, which is the typical mischaracterization. Yes, there was much that was wrong in the Crusades. The Roman Catholic Church here was diabolical in its treatments at times of non-christians. But not all of it was evil. There were a lot of stories from the Crusades, and the one that is picked by the storytellers is the one that reflects their particular viewpoint. For instance, they did not show the Muslims raping and pillaging the Holy Land and stealing Jerusalem in the first place that started the whole mess. No, that would be politically incorrect. So, this is not the first Crusade. Along the lines of this, it is important to note the things that are chosen to be shown and those that are chosen to be left out. For instance, there is a strange lack of the word and concept of jihad in this movie, yet plenty of “crusade” language – Hmmmm. It is interesting that they show some kooky Catholic Priests or Christian “fanatics” preaching on street corners, “To kill an infidel is not murder, it is the path to heaven,” But they do not show the fact that MOST ALL Muslims believed and preached this very “kill the infidel” idea at the time. They show a city controlled by Christians who allow Muslims to pray to Allah if they pay a tax. Yet, they do not show the fact that it is Islam that is famous for this very notion of dhimmitude, that is, of allowing Christians to live if they pay a tax. Bat Ye’Or has written extensively on the slavery of Christians under dhimmitude in books like “The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam” and “Islam and Dhimmitude.” In these books she catalogs the cruelty experienced by Jews and Christians under Islamic rule. But the movie also shows a good side to both the Christian king Baldwin, and the Muslim leader Saladin, by showing Baldwin hanging Templar knights for murdering Muslims and showing Saladin put a fallen crucifix back up in its place after it had fallen in battle. Even though this movie is balanced in showing good and bad knights, good kings and bad kings, it is not so balanced when it comes to Islam. There are no real fanatics shown on the Islamic side, something that is painfully foolishly fallacious. This is especially grievous in the light of modern day fanaticism that is almost exclusively engaged in by Muslims. Saladin was famous for his evenhandedness in dealing with his enemies sometimes, but come on, there were just as many fanatical Muslims to match the ridiculous warmongering of Catholic Guy de Lusignan and his General, Reynald portrayed in the picture as cartoon villains who loved to kill. But no, the Muslims are portrayed as mere enemies, not as the fanatics that they were, even under Saladin. I guess Ridley Scott just doesn’t want to have a fatwah on his head, (that is, to be killed by Muslim fanatics) so he plays it safe by avoiding the full truth and makes the Muslims look less fanatical. One good side is that the filmmakers DO show both sides claiming that “God wills it” of their actions. That is, both sides claim God’s favor or direction. So who is right? In this story, it is neither, it is Humanistic peace and brotherhood that is preached. A perspective that completely misses the truth. This is basically the story of a humanist, Balian, who experiences the ravages of religion, and decides it is all destructive. Here is how it is done. Every religious claim, is countered by our hero with an individualistic self-righteous appeal to “goodness” without God as the source of that goodness. A chess game illustrates that “none of us choose our ends,” to which our hero replies, “the king may move a man, but the soul of a man belongs to the man.” Balian demands that the kingdom of heaven is a “kingdom of conscience or nothing.” That is, the individual and his own conscience against the mean cruel “institutionalized religion.” The ultimacy of the individual as opposed to the collective in this movie is pure humanism. As if evil comes from the collective, but not the individual. And whay, pray tell is the collective, save a group of individuals who agree on their individual consciences? Humanism leads the terror of collective oppression, but it does so under the guise of no absolutes. At least religions can be wrong in their understanding of absolutes and CHANGE. But with humanism, there is no absolute, just the Will to Power in the name of some undefinable unjustifiable “good” (a “good” they have already denied by denying absolutes). There is a great saying by one of the heroic knights. He spurns “religion,” “Religion is full of fanatics. Holiness is right action. Goodness is what God desires in the mind and in the heart.” There is a sense in which this is true, but in the context of the film it basically means, “All that matters is being good, which of course, can be done individually without God.” (The storytellers seem to have missed Jesus’ enforcement of the Old Testament Law, that the most important commands are TO LOVE GOD with all your heart and mind and love your neighbor. So loving God rightly IS THE FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT THING TO GOD, loving people according to HIS dictates is second, but an important second – Matthew 22:35-40.) Balian, the man without God, who claims throughout the film that God is not with him, cause he cannot feel him and cannot feel forgiveness even on the place of Christ’s crucifixion, this humanistic man is portrayed as having the highest ethic of all those religious believers around him. “God’s will” is always used as an obvious rationalization for personal gain throughout the movie. Balian is told that Jerusalem is great because once you are there, people “are not what they were born into, but what they have inside themselves to be.” This of course, is the humanistic FALSE supposition that all these religious believers are only their religion because that is what they were born into. Humanism presents itself as the great individualizer that allows people to be what THEY want to be. Of course, being born into religions or atheism or humanism IS OFTEN influential on a person’s beliefs, but the problem is that the world is full of hundreds of millions of converts that became NOT what they were raised to be. So it is simply a fallacy to suggest that we only believe what we were taught to believe. The question is NOT why we believe something, the question is whether what we believe is TRUE OR NOT. Truth is not determined by genetic origin within our psychologies, another humanistic ignorance. When Balian must gather his forces in Jerusalem to fight Saladin in an impossible battle, he says to them, “Your Muslim places of worship lie over Christian places of worship that lie over Jewish places of worship that were taken over by the Romans. Which is more holy? Who has claim? No one has claim. All have claim. We will defend Jerusalem for the people within its walls.” This typical contradictory proposition that all have claim and none have claim may sound wise in a pithy way, but it actually means nothing. If no one has claim, then “all” cannot have claim. What it really means is that the storytellers are telling us, your religious beliefs are irrelevant, my humanism is superior because I care about the people, not some religious claims, which are unprovable. This is the arrogance of humanism. It considers itself so superior to religions that it is above it all and better – as if it is its own god. But there is a problem here. Without the living transcendent God, people have no value, only the arbitrary value that those in power give them. So, ironically, if you take away Christianity, YOU DO NOT HAVE the love of people, you have the tyranny and manipulation of people. The fact of the matter is that the Roman Catholic Crusaders WERE NOT ACTING IN ACCORD WITH THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS. They were wrong NOT because they were religious, but because they did not follow their religion consistently or biblically. But the French Revolution and Communist Russia, now that is what you get of so-called, “liberty, equality, fraternity” the brotherhood of man without God. Humanists just want to get rid of religion and keep the ethics of religion, but the problem is that when they get rid of Christianity, they get rid of the ONLY THING that can give true and absolute value to the dignity and life of human beings. And they get rid of the absolutes that are the only foundation of ethics. They want to have Christian ethics without Christianity. This is patently absurd. Without an absolute Christian foundation of ethics, you are left with arbitrary rule of power. This will always end in tyranny and despotism, whether of the majority, the elite or of a dictator. May I remind the reader once again that yes, several million were killed in the name of religion over the 20 centuries, but HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS were murdered in but ONE CENTURY, the century of modernism without God. So, misguided religion is bad, but consistent humanism is one hundred times worse. The 20th century proved that modernism/humanism is more evil than all the worst of religions added together. So stop your belly aching. When Balian must burn the dead soldiers in the walls to keep from spreading disease, he is chastised by a priest for desecration, to which he replies, “God will understand. And if he does not, then he is not God, and it doesn’t matter.” Another pithy line that shows the arrogance of humanistic (and I might add, Thomistic Classical apologetics) that if God does not meet MY understanding of logic, then he is just not God. In other words, if God bows down and fits into MY (faulty) logical understanding, then I will allow him to be God, Which obviously means he wouldn’t be God if he had to do that. The real problem here was not that Christianity was absurd, but that the priests were prohibiting something (desecration) THAT WAS NOT PROHIBITED BY GOD (Matthew 15:2-9). Big difference, folks. Too much of Romanism was simply NOT BIBLICAL. So it is not Christianity that is absurd, it is Romanism, with it’s humanistic traditions that violated Scripture. At the end, Balian looks upon Jerusalem and says, “If this is the Kingdom of Heaven, let God do with it what he wills.” In other words, Balian is done with religion. He goes back to his home town to be a blacksmith again and have a wife. And when King Richard the Lionheart comes to town looking for Balian, the hero, Balian denies he is the man, and simply says he is a blacksmith. In other words, “I have had enough of religion and Christianity, I believe in just living my good life as a husband and worker, rather than the useless squabbles of religion.” So in this film, religion is tried and found wanting in favor of humanism. Unfortunately, it is humanism that ACTUALLY takes away the value and dignity of life, so the filmmakers are engaging in the classical Van Tillian parable of sitting on their Father’s knees in order to be able to slap the Father that gave them life. They deny the only warranted foundation of ethics, Christianity, and then try to have Christian morality without Christianity. But if there is no foundation of the Triune God, then THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “GOOD” OR “FAIR” OR EVEN “EVIL.” There is simply opposing wills in conflict, without moral value attached to any act whatsoever.. How dare any humanist claim THEY know what is right or good, when there are millions who disagree with them. These humanists would impose their religion (and that is what it ultimately is, is religion) upon the rest of the world, all in the name of their definition of the “absolute good,” as they see it, a good, that they have already denied exists. And if there is no absolute good as defined by God, then who are they to impose their version of right or good on everybody else? There is no higher transcendence in this movie, just the disparagement of transcendence, which makes this movie an unsatisfying weak story without soul.
Hard to recommend. This was a well done political thriller about an attempted assassination of some president of an African country while he is at the U.N. building in New York. Brilliant performances by Sean Penn as the cop and Nicole Kidman as the Interpreter who overhears the assassination plot. What I liked about this film was an underlying theme that was explored about the effect of revenge on the soul of the avenger. Nicole’s brother is killed by this African president’s henchmen, a president whose origins is as a Nelson Mandela type figure who began as a freedom fighter for his country’s people, but when he got into power, he turned into a killer himself, slaughtering those who were against him. Well, we find out about a tradition of this African tribe who, when they catch a killer, they bind him and drop him in the river, and if the survivors of the victim want to, they can either let him drown as justice, or jump in and save him with mercy. If they save him, then the crime is atoned for and the criminal has redemption, but if they let him drown, they may have their justice, but they will live with the impact of their decision for the rest of their lives. Of course, this very parable is what this movie is about, as Nicole discovers the president killed her brother and then she must decide if she wants to kill the president or let him go. A saying, “Vengeance is a lazy form of grief” is said in the movie, along with some other very clever lines. I think this is a very thoughtful theme. We all too often think revenge will get us justice, but we do not think about its effect on us after we do. I think that this is also somewhat biblical. For example, as I understand the Law of God, the punishments prescribed by God for most crimes are victim oriented, meaning that they are maximum penalties (eye for an eye), but not absolute, in that the victim’s survivors do not have to press for the maximum penalty, UNLESS the Scriptures mandate a punishment. So, for example, God gives the right for a victim of an adultery to press for capital punishment, but this is not necessary if they choose forgiveness. But other crimes, like murder contain the pleonasm, “Dying he shall die,” which indicates a mandated penalty that the State must enforce regardless of individual charges. Biblical law is victim oriented. A great Must Read book that applies God’s Law to modern day terms is “Victim’s Rights” by Gary North. Boy, talk about the confusion that is cleared up in legal jurisprudence if people would just use the Creator’s directions when constructing legal theory. Anyway, there is one caveat that I would add. That is, biblically, the victim CAN experience just retribution in state enforced punishment and walk away feeling good knowing that justice is done and crime is atoned for. The difference is that the Bible says this is to be done through due process. That is, the victim can throw the first stone as long as the crime has gone through proper channels judicially through the State. The State is God’s ordained means of justice, NOT the individual. This is where so many miss the beauty and goodness of biblical justice. Eye for an eye is not about personal revenge, it is to be administered judicially through the state. Personal revenge is sin, punishment through the State is God ordained justice (Romans 12:17-13:6). So many think that Jesus was denying this “lex talionis” principle when he said to the accusers of a woman caught in adultery to cast the first stone if they were without sin (John 8). But a careful look into Old Testament law will yield the fact that Jesus was REINFORCING biblical law, not contradicting it. You see, the men who caught the woman were not following due process, they were being vigilantes operating outside the law courts. This was not biblical. AND the Law said they were supposed to stone BOTH parties of an adultery, so they were not following the Law, they were being partial. Also, the Law said that those who engaged in capital penalties on others could not themselves be guilty of a known crime (Deut 19:15; Num 17:7). All this to say that biblical justice can be experienced without soul guilt if it is done through due process of law. So vigilante vengeance is not biblical but capital punishment through the State is biblical. So when Nicole has the gun pointed at the president who killed her brother and many others, she forces him to read his own words he wrote about justice before he came to power. It’s a powerful thematic moment, but ultimately did not ring true to me because we see this genocidal monster “realize” what he had done wrong, and I just don’t believe that these monsters ever do recognize such evil in themselves outside of a religious conversion. You see, without God, there is ultimately nothing but power, might makes right. Without God, morality is arbitrary. This brings me to the main problem I have with the worldview of the film. The U.N. is depicted in this movie as the answer to our world’s hatred and evil. As if the U.N. represents the harmony that all nations should have. Nicole says, “Words and compassion are a better way, even if it’s slower than a gun.” Well, the bottom line is that a gun is the only thing that will stop genocidal maniacs, tyrants, and maniacal dictators. There simply is no reasoning with such evil men. Neville Chamberlain cried for peace and harmony in our time through compassion and words, and let Hitler almost destroy and kill them all, It took the “gun” of Winston Churchill to save them. Some evil can only be stopped by force, that is just and righteous force. The plain reality is that the UN is NOT about peace and harmony among nations, it is about two things: The dismantling of US hegemony and global socialism. THAT is not peace and harmony that is bigotry, hatred and tyranny. Hey, the UN sub-commission on the protection and promotion of human rights contains such shining beacons of human rights violators as Cuba, China, and Pakistan, and THEY talk about human rights as their hands are dripping with the blood of millions? I think not. The Interpreter is unfortunately self-righteous bumper sticker propaganda for one world socialism, or in other words, Communism. Too bad, cause it was a well-written political thriller, as genres go.