Monthly Archives: March 2014

Lent: Part 7

Johnny Got His Gun (1971) – Do you want a movie about a man who has had all of his limbs cut or blown off, along with his face, and for much of the movie you get to hear his inner monologue about what it’s like not to have limbs or a face? Well, have I got the movie for you. Do you want Donald Sutherland as one of history’s great White Jesuses? Same movie! Do you want completely unsubtle war stories where one war is used as some kind of metaphor for another war? Well, isn’t this your lucky day.

Lent: Part 2

The Wind Rises (風立ちぬ, 2013) – It’s hard to tell if it’s as a Westerner or just as a moviegoer that I rarely see movies about World War 2 from the other side. Although, in that respect, it’s hard to say this is a movie about the war and not just a movie about a man and his airplanes, featuring the military. Then again, every character is Japanese, German, or Italian, and not one of them is really shown as anything like a traditional villain–a rare thing in Western movies set in the ’30s and ’40s.

More time is spent showing the devastation of an earthquake than on the horrors of war. Passing reference is made to the various countries the planes will bomb, and the planes, it is said, “didn’t come back.” In one scene, Jiro expresses some fleeting consternation that he’s being paid well to design war machines while the rest of Japan starves, but he seems to get over that and gets back to designing planes.

But this isn’t a movie about the war. It’s a movie about a man and his airplanes, and also the military is there, and some people die.