October 3, 2013

Dredd comes across as a film that wishes it were deeper, but then its $45 million budget would be unwarranted, as any semblance of activating the minds of teenage adolescents apparently steers them away from what they pay almost $15 dollars for these days: spectacle. Escapism. Not art, but a way to run away from the world versus being confronted by it in a different field of view.


This is not a criticism of filmmakers or the churning dream factory. This is a criticism of society and its cultivation of mindlessness. This is all a part of the machinery of institutionalization. So the blame is not with the majority of post-pubescent children – that’s how humans are made by the time they near 18 – but with the lack of impetus on the hands of society to reveal to what will be 100% of the future the responsibility, the privilege, the duty, of owning a life.


Perhaps, to segue, this is how the mega city of the dystopian future of Dredd begins to be shaped. The onslaught of rationalizing society, of denying the humanity of man because of its irrational character, creates a world of cinder block jails which are called apartments, and a rule of law that mocks the word “justice”. Every violation of the law in “Megacity 1” is a minimum of 2 years in prison, with the sentence swiftly administered by pseudo-assassins from the state.


Unlike adults, children need burnt black and blinding white morality in a story which is what is seen in Dredd. They cannot deduce that the organization of society may be corrupt itself, and that the Judge is a part of the meat grinder. “We’re the handle,” says one corrupt Judge who recognizes the absurdity of his situation and decides to pursue rational self-interest. Dredd in other words, is bleakly demonstrated to be advocating justice, yet the childish filmgoer will not be able to discern that if this is justice in the future, something has gone terribly wrong.


It is smart to show a decayed society that has a mashup of technological sophistication yet also a return to near-tribal living up and down the concrete jungle. The weapons and drugs are advanced, but the quality of being in the society is severely underwhelming. This is the consistency in the Christian filmmakers mind when he envisions dystopia: that man is permanently unable to improve his spiritual well-being. He is a sinner, and thus, his future is historically determined toward annihilation.


But that is too deep to even be considered within Dredd. The film is simply an exercise in the state of the art special effects of splattering blood to convey the meaning of justice to boys. If they even use their brain in the film.


Grade: D+



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