GRAF ORLOCK ARE DOWN WITH EDWARD SAID
Since the members of Graf Orlock are obsessed with action movies, it was a brilliant idea on the part of The Deciblog (or the band’s publicist perhaps?) to have GO’s Justin Smith review action films. This week Smith ponders Taken, a Liam Neeson/Luc Besson thriller which opened in the States this past weekend and the rest of the world over the course of 2008.
Now, given Graf’s semi-retarded action movie-inspired lyrics, I kind of assumed that Smith was just concentrate on the basics of action cinema – e.g., if the movie was appropriately violent and bad assed. But I clearly underestimated Smith, who gets all smart n’ shit on us:
“Although I am more than pleased with the imaginative use of Krav Maga and stabbing weapons, one cannot help but notice the lurking undercurrent of the film; what Edward Said called “Orientalism.” Like the aforementioned Hostel, Taken relies heavily on depiction of the “exotic East” (whether it be European immigrant thugs, or complicit near-Eastern sheiks), as the frightening and deprecated “other,” conveniently offset by the morally pure and violently unstoppable personification of the “get shit done unilaterally” West. Only through these diametrically-opposed characterizations can the heartbroken father’s ass-kicking and corpse-piling really be appreciated—a black and white dichotomy of the fearful unknown versus the experienced and well-trained servant of the unadulterated and benevolent U.S. government.”
Wow. Edward Said. That takes me back to my days at university. [Whistful sigh.]
Anyways, Smith is dead right – I’ve seen the movie, and it’s about as overtly racist as mainstream cinema gets these days (Smith fails to mention that not only does Neeson’s character kill a whole lotta Middle Easterners and bizarrely Middle Eastern-looking Albanians, but does it all in the confines of Paris, where the law enforcement establishment proves to be corrupt and Neeson threatens to “tear down the Eiffel Tower” if that’s what it takes to save his daughter. Did Dick Cheney get a writing credit on this thing or what?).
But Smith is also more forgiving of the action than I would’ve been – it’s mostly pretty mundane stuff, and the horrid acting and story just weighs it down further – but, hey, Smith is clearly a very intelligent dude and I’m happier to read something I disagree with by a guy who clearly knows his shit than to read, say, anything written by Harry Knowles.
And, oh yeah, Graf Orlock have a new album coming out soon. We’ll post more news on that as we get it. If for some reason you don’t know this band, check out their MySpace page – they’re the shit.