It’s a Disaster

September 21, 2013

This is a challenging film to pick apart. There are definitely admirable feats. But there are also sore spots that stick out, the most mind-burning being the horrific efforts at emulating Monty Python non-sequiturs. It stands to reason that Americans should lay off that kind of humor. I gather the first 60% of the film – yes, I can be that precise – is loaded with the efforts at filling each film-space with humorous misdirections in the dialogue. The misses twitch painfully to the mind because of the comedic density.

 

But enough about the technicalities. What is represented here? An incredibly original setting. Mass destruction in a post 9/11 world which lumbers along in the subconscious of every adult American, that a massive calamity can strike anywhere at any time. And when it happens? What is the moment someone imagines when terror strikes and they are left with a cataclysmic ending?

 

The Sum of All Fears tries to capture the genuine horror. It’s a Disaster tries to capture the overwhelming tiredness of life that the young-Generation X crowd foreshadows into a more acerbic old-Millenial crowd. Meaning, complete sarcastic and stand offish flavoring of living a life. Indeed this is the film’s intentional capture. All of the couples have no myth to subscribe to about their origins and their destination, except for the invited guest who then outs himself as “crazy” – judged by those living life superficially. The most excitement gathered by the crowd is a ritual brunch, which replaces the historic religious weekend ceremonial, and infidelity.

 

Indeed, when the death sentence is realized, the seemingly most “well educated” among them, a doctor played by America Ferrera, turns the most hopeless and anxious. Her performance is searingly fine-tuned with the psychotic breakdown and suicide of a famed atheistic philosopher named David Stove when he faced the music with his terminal cancer. With no conception of a perfect order that exists external to the mind, with the indoctrination by a culture that extorts nothingness over mythical narrative, it is no wonder that she turns morose.

 

Thus, do we witness in general a disappointment with having to die? Did the characters have something to live toward? Outside of another brunch? Outside of another vacation, or another turn of the calendar year? What was their meaning? Amazingly, the film does not illustrate this whatsoever. It is not a flaw to portray the hemorrhaging character flaws that are their lowest common denominator. Each character clearly had a unique distraction away from life, moving them away from the interest of self-examination.

 

The fact that the film ends so abruptly simply clarifies to the audience the value of the characters’ lives. The values they have set for themselves.

 

Grade: B

 

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