Saturday, June 10, 2006

Tears of the Sun or tears over wordiness?

It has been well over a week since I vaguely introduced myself and began posting on this estimable blog. I realize I sound pompous and wordy, but then, hey, what do you expect? I mean after all, I have been accused of having an English major's soul, which though hypothetical, was not too far-fetched. As a philosophy major in fact, I am not too much removed in essence from an English major. Be that as it may (to use my formal English phrase of the day), I am here to review a movie. This too is strange, since that is more Fezzick's line. Nonetheless, while I abhor the fact that modern technology and media has made every man a self-sufficient yet unsatisfied island, I am second to none or at least few, in enjoying its perks. Without further ado, I present for your consideration the movie Tears of the Sun This was a splendid movie that unabashedly portrayed the truth about ethnic violence and cleansing, while proving a riveting and action-packed adventure. It reminded me of the things I had heard about Hotel Rwanda, although it was not based on a true story. I find, pace Katholish, that non-factual events can and do portray truth as effectively if not more so than fact. As a philosophy major, I would hazard that this is so becuase well constructed fiction (contrary to Plato and yet in accord with him--see the "Meno," "Apologia," and "Phaedro" for details) more closely corresponds to our human experience. As G. K. Chesterton said in most of his books somewhere in some form; "Truth is often stranger than fiction." I have no idea if he said those words verbatim, but it was a favorite theme of his. Anyway, the realm of fiction, whatever media, is without doubt a very important factor in forming the human person. Tears of the
Sun provides an excellent example of this. The basic plot is that a team of SEALs is instructed to rescue an American doctor from war-torn Nigeria, before the rebels move in. Because they
are Moslem fanatics, they have been systematically wiping out the Catholic Ibu tribe that had been in power, as well as all foreign nationals. The problem is, that the lady-doctor refuses to leave without as many of her patients and associates as could walk. The SEAL Lieutenant (Bruce Willis) pretends to go along with her demand in order to get her moving. They leave the mission compound where she had worked, leaving behind the Catholic priest and two nuns with the badly wounded. In the face of almost certain death, the Catholic religious are portrayed very well, as humans afraid of death but moved by grace to remain faithful to their charges. Indeed, they prove that a "soldier of Christ" is every but as dutiful as a SEAL. The party of refugees is hunted by the vengeful Moslem rebels to the Cameroon border. During their flight, Willis struggles with his soldierly conscience, undecided as to what to do with the "extra" Nigerians. Eventually, despite leaving the refugees and despite orders to the contrary, his conscience as a human wins, and he returns to lead the refugees to safety. He realizes he cannot abandon seventy-five other humans to death when he has the power to save them.
This completes my summary of the plot, but leaves out much, and I don't think it would ruin your watching. I truly recommend this movie to you, and to all audiences capable of viewing it. I will say that there was swearing and graphic violence in the movie as well as some female exposure, though this was in the context of the violence. The violence, swearing, and nudity (partial) was enough to make the movie R rated, but I did not find it excessively out of place. It certainly was not gratuitous, though some may have been unneccessary. In any case, it was all
natural, portrayed as if it were a newsreel, which perhaps was why it was hard to watch but part of the movie.
Hmmm... perhaps I ramble on too much. I found the movie true to life and very Catholic, both in its prtrayal of Catholics and in its themes. Though there was much violence and hatred portrayed, it remained for me a beautiful movie, while not being sappy or sentimental. I recommend it for viewers who can stand violence and swearing that is closely related to extreme situations. While a "military thriller" or "action movie" in the technical sense, it was a much
greater movie than any of the average "thriller" or "action movie"of these. Watch and enjoy, but be warned, it maybe hard to watch at times.


Nox said...

Thanks for the review. It is really helpful to be able to ensure that I won't be wasting my time by sitting through any given movie; I've already made that mistake once this summer. Never again!

Fezzick said...

Cool. Makes me want to go see it. Steven Spielberg directed it, right? No wait, that's Empire of the Sun. Sorry. Looking up on IMDB.......ah! Tears of the Sun was directed by none other than Antione Fuqua. Never heard of her, but I'm certain that the movie is good nonetheless.