anticipating and triumphing over
the twilit blockbuster beast
in the allegorical film art
of Kathryn Bigelow
by Gary W. Wright
Little did Kathryn Ann Bigelow know that the year of the release of her first film would be the Last Good Year of film art. For the following year film art was changed forever by a helicopter crash that killed illegally hired child extras Renee Chen and Myca Le and actor/director/writer Vic Morrow around 2:20 am in the early morning of July 23, 1982 on the George Folsey produced John Landis set of the Frank Marshall executive produced and Kathleen Kennedy associate produced twilit and allegorical Landis, Joe Dante, George Miller and Steven Spielberg film, TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1983). However, while Bigelow may not have consciously known of the impending disaster, her first film was one of many pre-1982 films that contained unconscious memories of the future that anticipated the TZ disaster. For a twilit, combative, despondent, disaffected and embittered spirit was noticeably present in her steamy and sultry first prescient and allegorical indie docufeature film, THE LOVELESS (1981), co-directed and co-written with Lafayette ‘Monty’ Montgomery.
‘We’re going nowhere-fast!’
Curiously, given that the film was being created by two first time film artists, the film began with an unusually confident and silent crane shot of a biker with no name-played by Willem Dafoe-standing at the side of the highway after relieving himself, combing back his greased hair, buckling up his jeans, putting on his black gloves and sunglasses and then mounting and starting up his red and white Maple Leaf flag evoking motorbike in the first of many times this biker would be linked to the red and white colours of Canada in the film and then, to the sound of the allegorical and Stray Cats evoking Eddy Dixon rockabilly theme song, ‘Relentless’ (1981), and with a right turn that implied his anti-hero rather than his Evil status, roaring back onto the highway and off fittingly into the newborn morn given that this was a first film for two film artists, all in one long and unedited tracking crane shot. Soon after, a titillating encounter with a prostitute-played by Jane Berman-implied that the biker with no name and his Maple Leaf bike was implicitly linked to David Cronenberg. For the prostitute resembled Brian Linehan, who had a bit part in Cronenberg’s fourth and all too aptly named allegorical short film, CRIMES OF THE FUTURE (1970). After this gleefully ribald encounter, the biker with no name roared off down the highway on his iron steed again like a gunslinger with no name riding his horse down a dirt wagon road, giving a neo-Western ambience to THE LOVELESS. A neo-Western ambience that was implicitly affirmed by the arrival of the nameless biker in a small, equally nameless and dusty truck stop town in the middle of nowhere, Georgia, a dusty town that evoked the dusty small towns in all good Westerns.
Here the biker with no name was soon joined at the local diner by a small group of bikers who dubbed their brooding loner associate Canucklehead buddy, Vance, and were treated by the sparse locals with a fear and loathing that eerily anticipated the outraged fear and loathing that audiences dumped on Folsey jr., Kennedy, Landis, Marshall, Spielberg and their sympathetic friend George Lucas jr. after the TZ disaster, given the overall consensus that the TZ disaster could have been avoided if Landis and his crew had been more safety conscious and the furiously embittered conviction amongst some audience members that Chen, Le and Morrow had been deliberately murdered by Landis and their snuff murders made to look like a snafu accident in a sneaky snuffu. This eerie prescience was increased by the fact that at least two of the main group of the film’s despised bikers were implicitly linked to established New Hollywood film artists like Lucas, Francis Coppola and William Friedkin in the implicit form of Hurley, LaVille and Ricky-played by Phillip Kimbrough, Lawrence Matarese and Danny Rosen, respectively. Indeed, the Debbie Harry evoking and implicitly linked Sportster Debbie-played by Tina L’hotsky-the indie blonde temptress girlfriend of the main group’s twitchy nominal leader, Davis-perhaps linked to Amos Poe given the film’s allusions to the allegorical Poe film, UNMADE BEDS (1976), and played by rockabilly artist, Robert Gordon, who not only created much of the film’s cool rockabilly soundtrack but had also played the hitman in UNMADE BEDS in a film that had seen Harry play Blondie-implicitly affirmed the film’s implicit New Hollywood addressing intent, as her peroxide locks evoked the obsession with peroxide blondes in Hollywood film art.
In addition, David Lynch was also implicitly roasted in the film in the form of the hilariously and ironically uptight and biker hating middle-aged father and local crime boss, Tarver-played by J. Don Ferguson-in the first of many implicit roasts of Lynch in the film art of Bigelow. Curiously, Tarver was gunned down in a motel roadhouse in the gunslinger evoking end by his androgynous, rebellious and Carrie Fisher resembling teenaged daughter, Telena-an androgynous look that evoked the androgynous kid at the end of CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, and played by Marin Kanter-implying that Lynch would kill himself trying to take on New Hollywood with his surreal and dreamy moving paintings, something that almost happened when Lynch tried to sweep away New Hollywood and the TZ disaster and kick off a new era of daylit film art with the twilit and allegorical moving painting, DUNE (1984). Indeed, the film’s allusions to the allegorical Lynch moving painting, ERASERHEAD (1977), and the resemblance of Tarver’s younger brother, Sid-played by Bob Hannah-to Jack Nance, who played Henry in ERASERHEAD, affirmed the implicit Lynch roasting intent of THE LOVELESS and anticipated two Lynch works to come that alluded to the film.
Significantly, the film’s commitment to fearless film art for film’s art sake was on the wane in 1982, as the rebel boomers of New Hollywood gave up on that dream and turned to commercial film art, with its endless sequels and ‘franchises’ like the 1977-1983 computer graphic imagery (CGI) enhanced STAR WARS Classic Trilogy, causing resigned audiences to give up on the dream of higher film art, too. However, commitment to film art that was about higher goals than making blockbuster loot quickly returned after the TZ disaster, when outraged audiences rose up against and turned their backs on Folsey, Kennedy, Landis, Marshall and Spielberg-and Lucas too, after his failure to bring the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy to a satisfying trimax as executive producer of the allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Spielberg roasting Richard Marquand film, STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983), and for reaching out to and working with Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg on the twilit and allegorical film, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984)-and turned to more serious and artistic film artists like Bigelow, Cronenberg, Lynch, Luc Besson, Alex Cox and Jim Jarmusch in revenge.
Curiously, Bigelow and Montgomery eerily anticipated the TZ disaster in THE LOVELESS. For in an ominously moody voiceover (VO) at the beginning of the film, Vance noted that ‘…you never can tell on a day like this. Things could be going jake one minute, then presto! Before you know it, you’re history’, words that all too aptly summed how quickly film artists like Folsey jr., Kennedy, Landis, Lucas, Marshall and Spielberg fell out of favour with audiences after the TZ disaster. Indeed, the use of the Dirty Thirties slang word of ‘jake’ for ‘okay’ openly linked the film to Landis via ‘Joliet’ Jake Blues-played by John Belushi-in the allegorical Landis film, THE BLUES BROTHERS (1980). A film created by the wistful New Hollywood wannabe Landis produced by his older producer partner, Folsey jr., who were implicitly linked to the Folsey jr. and Landis resembling father, Buck, and his wistfully wannabe biker rebel son, John-played by Ken Call and John King, respectively-who owned a gas station/garage in the dusty town.
A black and white film within the film seen in the motel roadhouse shortly before the shootings at the end of the film that saw a driver lose control, roll over and crash trying to set a speed record on a desert flat also ominously anticipated the fatal helicopter crash in the TZ disaster. Indeed, the film cut off to groans of dismay after getting caught up in the projector as the camera moved in for a close-up of the mangled wreck, ending the film as surely as the TZ disaster ended the New Hollywood era. Bigelow and Montgomery also anticipated that Lucas would fail to deliver the goods with STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI the year after the release of THE LOVELESS. For after gunning down her father, Tarver, in the motel roadhouse, Telena killed herself with the same gun, in the end. An eerily fitting death, indeed, for it ended an era in that nameless truck stop Georgia town as surely as the equally deadly TZ disaster would soon end the Skyrocking New Hollywood era.
Last but not least, it was also ominously and eerily fitting that after the suicide of Telena, the anti-hero bikers roared out of that truck stop town on their iron steeds and off into the night in another long and confident tracking shot that evoked the opening confident tracking shot and brought the film full circle-literally, as the brooding loner biker Vance noticeably waited for the rest to gallop off before eventually tearing off in pursuit, as befitting a biker implicitly linked to Canadian loner Cronenberg-for the roaring sight and sound anticipated the sound and fury of the TZ disaster that would soon send audiences and film artists of the day straight into the Twilight Zone. Curiously, the eerily twilit prescience and fearless confidence of the film was not missed by Walter Hill, for he alluded to THE LOVELESS in his twilit and allegorical film, STREETS OF FIRE: A ROCK AND ROLL FABLE (1984).
‘It’s so much better going nowhere fast.’
In fact, Hill implicitly linked Bigelow to a singer with the Bigelow, Hollywood and Telena cadenced name of Ellen Aim-played by Diane Lane-singing the twilit, allegorical and desperately upbeat Jim Steinman tune, ‘Nowhere Fast’ (1984), with her band, the Attackers-played by Angelo, William Beard II, Stuart Kimball and John Ryder, respectively, although the song was really performed by Fire Inc.-in the film’s opening number at the Diamond theatre in a neon lit and implicitly neo-Fifties New York. Fittingly, given that the exuberantly upbeat ‘Nowhere Fast’ was an open reply to Vance’s furiously despondent observation that he and the rest of the bikers were ‘…going nowhere-fast!’ that he spat out at the end of THE LOVELESS, Dafoe soon showed up at the Diamond at the head of the ‘blockbuster’ Bombers biker gang as their leader, Raven Shaddock. Significantly, it wasn’t long before Shaddock, his second-in-command, Greer-played by Lee Ving-and the rest of the ‘blockbuster’ Bombers angrily stormed the stage, beat up the Attackers and various audience members and kidnapped Aim. As the mayhem out in the street as Shaddock, Greer and the ‘blockbuster’ Bombers made their escape with Aim evoked the mayhem on the streets at the end of the allegorical Landis films, ANIMAL HOUSE (1978) and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981), the implication was that Shaddock, Greer and the ‘blockbuster’ Bombers symbolized Landis, Folsey jr. and their compliant crew on their episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE and that their cruel capture of Aim symbolized the twilit grip that film art had been caught up in since the TZ disaster.
As Aim was rescued and Shaddock defeated by her implicitly Lucas linked ex-boyfriend, Tom Cody-played by Michael Pare-in the ice pickin’ and two fisted end, a climactic fight that took place between brooding and burly Bombers-one resembling Dan Akroyd, one of the few film artists who continued to support Landis after the TZ disaster, affirming the implicit link of Shaddock to Landis-and resolute police and citizens, Hill implicitly hoped that Lucas would defeat Folsey jr. and Landis and free film art in general and that of Bigelow in particular from the TZ disaster, the Twilight Zone and the dread allegorical Zone Wars and kick off a new era of CGI enhanced film art with another Skyrocking film. Indeed, the fact that the film’s bumbling cops evoked the robot police of the allegorical Lucas film, THX 1138 (1971), and the allegorical Lucas film, AMERICAN GRAFITTI (1973); that the neo-Fifties look of the film and its rock n roll soundtrack evoked the rockin’ roll and wistful Fifties nostalgia of AMERICAN GRAFITTI and THE LOVELESS; that the determined rescue of Aim evoked the equally determined rescue of Fisher’s Princes Leia Organna in the allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Spielberg roasting Lucas film, STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE (1977), and that Cody’s address at 838 Hurley Street linked him to the implicitly Lucas linked Hurley in THE LOVELESS affirmed the film’s implicit and hopeful Lucas addressing intent.
Alas for the implicit hopes of Hill, as Aim and the Attackers teamed up with the a cappella group the Sorels-composed of Bird, B.J., Lester and Reggie, played by Stoney Jackson, Mykel T. Williamson, Robert Townsend and Grand Bush, respectively-
brought the film full circle singing the closing twilit and allegorical Steinman number, ‘Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young’ (1984)-performed again by Fire Inc.-Cody walked forlornly out of the Diamond and off into the neon lit night, in the end, a lonesome sight that presciently anticipated Lucas also fading away that year after the irreparable harm done to his reputation by the STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI disaster, by the Great Divorce from his wife Marcia soon after, and by reaching out to protect and work with Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg on the infuriatingly dumb, twilit and allegorical Spielberg film, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984)-which implied that the rescue of a group of Asian boys and girls symbolized the rescue of Chen and Le so everything was fine now, audiences should celebrate, eat their popcorn and buy lots of movie tie-in merchandise!
Intriguingly, the neo-Western ambience of THE LOVELESS clearly appealed to Bigelow, perhaps because she was born and raised south of San Fran in the dusty city of San Carlos. For a sensitive but steely-eyed neo-Western spirit returned when Bigelow teamed up with ‘Wild’ Bill Paxton-who played the irrepressible barkeep, Clyde, in STREETS OF FIRE-to make clear that the fearless confidence, darkness and violence of THE LOVELESS were not characteristics of Montgomery and implicitly address Lucas again in her first solo and even more fearless, confident, uncompromisingly artistic, CGI free, neo-Western, original, twilit and truly steamy and sultry allegorical indie docufeature film, NEAR DARK (1987).
‘Could I’ve a bite?’
Curiously, NEAR DARK began with a close-up of a mosquito greedily sucking blood from someone’s hand or forearm, a mosquito that looked like an ironically and humourously tiny version of the huge, nasty and implicitly Wicked Witch of the West linked alien Queen Mother in the twilit, righteously furious and allegorical James Cameron Zonebuster, ALIENS (1986), which had implicitly been a righteously furious reply to the twilit and allegorical Dante disaster, GREMLINS (1984), produced by the twilit cabal of Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg. However, before the tiny Wicked Queen Mother could enjoy its drink, a hand casually and unceremoniously squashed it, implying that Cameron and ALIENS and his film art were going to be gleefully roasted by Bigelow and Red in NEAR DARK. The hand turned out to belong to a nameless, handsome, wholesome and implicitly Scarecrow linked young man-played by Adrian Pasdar-whose cowboy hat, blue jeans and boots implicitly affirmed that the neo-Western spirit had returned to a Bigelow film.
Significantly, the young cowboy with no name was soon driving his battered blue pickup truck down a dusty dirt country road as the sun set in the distance, evoking the sight of a frustrated young Luke Skywalker-played by Mark Hamill-watching two suns setting on Tatooine at the beginning of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This implicitly linked him to Lucas rather than Cameron, an implication that was reaffirmed after he drove through a small town that evoked the small town in THE LOVELESS and parked his pickup outside the local saloon in town. For outside the saloon, the nameless cowboy met a young man in a baseball cap who resembled and was implicitly linked to Cameron-played by either Leo Getter or Gary W. Cunningham-freeing the cowboy to be implicitly linked to Lucas. Just as significantly, no sooner has this implicitly Cameron linked friend dubbed the nameless cowboy Caleb, then Caleb wandered down the sidewalk to talk up a beautiful and deceptively sweet, innocent and Glinda linked young blonde who revealed her name to be Mae-played by Jenny Wright-her name reminding us that STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE was released on May 25, 1977 in another implicit affirmation of the link of Caleb to Lucas.
Alas for Caleb, not only did Mae’s blonde hair implicitly link her to twilit Hollywood, Wright herself was linked to the twilit and disastrous year of 1982 forever via her role as a brash and raunchy teen groupie in the allegorical Alan Parker and Pink Floyd film, PINK FLOYD’S THE WALL (1982). Even worse, the bewitching Mae turned out to be a vampiress whose bite caused Caleb Colton to begin his transformation into a vampire. Unfortunately, Mae also caused Caleb to get caught up in her gleefully violent outlaw vampire gang, comprised of the implicitly Spielberg linked Severen, the implicitly Marshall linked Hooker, the implicitly Kennedy linked Diamondback-whose name evoked the Diamond club in STREETS OF FIRE-and the implicitly Dante linked Homer, played by Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein and Joshua Miller, respectively-three of whom-Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg-Lucas had foolishly worked with on INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, destroying his reputation.
However, after some violent misadventures with the outlaw vampires, Caleb and Mae managed to escape them and return to the house of Caleb’s implicitly Great Oz linked father, Doctor Loy Colton, DVM-played by Tim Thomerson, who also linked the film openly to the twilit and disastrous year of 1982 via his role as Dr. Knute Lanyon in the allegorical and implicitly Landis roasting Jerry Belson film, JEKYLL AND HYDE…TOGETHER AGAIN (1982)-and his implicitly Dorothy linked kid sister, Sarah-whose name evoked Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor in twilit and allegorical Cameron Zonebuster, THE TERMINATOR (1984), and played by Marcie Leeds. Here, with the help of Dr. Colton, Caleb and Mae managed to cure their vampirism with blood transfusions. Whole, healthy and human again, they joined forces with Dr. Colton and Sarah to face down and defeat Hooker, Diamondback, Severen and Homer, with the help of burning and purifying sunlight, in a neo-Western showdown that saw Caleb ride his horse into town like a resolute Sheriff from his father’s ranch to take on the vampire Evildoers.
Thus, given that Caleb and Mae freed themselves of vampiric disease and triumphed over the outlaw vampire gang, in the end, Bigelow implied her hope that Lucas would also come to his senses and terminate his friendship with Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg lest he be taken over by his Dark Side and trapped with his film art in the deadly Twilight Zone near dark…forever-a chilling warning indeed, and one that all film artists were wise to heed in 1987. Unfortunately, Lucas, Cameron and other film artists did not heed the film’s implicit message, and so remain trapped in the dread Zone Wars we do to this day.
Curiously, the outlaw vampires not only came across as a more violent version of the outlaw bikers of THE LOVELESS, but were played by actors who had starred in the first three films of Cameron. Indeed, Henriksen had played police chief Steve Kimbrough in the presciently twilit allegorical Cameron film, PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING (1982), linking the film again to the twilit and disastrous year of 1982; Henriksen and Paxton had played LAPD Detective Hal Vucovich and a punk, respectively, in the righteously furious THE TERMINATOR; and Goldstein, Henriksen and Paxton had played Colonial Marine Vasquez, Bishop the android and Colonial Marine Hudson in the even more righteously furious and implicitly Dante blasting ALIENS. Significantly, this interest in the Zonebusting film art of Cameron was not missed by Cameron, who soon met and married Bigelow after getting a divorce from Gale Anne Hurd, producer of ALIENS, THE TERMINATOR and the twilit, CGI enhanced and allegorical Cameron Zonebuster, THE ABYSS (1989).
For his part, John Badham implicitly and admiringly linked Bigelow to the beautiful, fearless and sharp shooting brunette veterinarian, Doctor Rachel Varney-played by Joan Severance-in the twilit and allegorical film, BIRD ON A WIRE (1990), a film that saw the implicitly Landis linked ex-criminal, Rick Jarmin-played by Mel Gibson-triumph over the insidious and implicitly Spielberg linked Eugene Sorenson-played by David Carradine, an implication affirmed by the film’s sarcastic allusions to INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM. Making it ironic that another beautiful, fearless and sharp shooting heroine would implicitly take on and take out a psychotic Evildoer implicitly linked to Landis when Bigelow teamed up again with co-writer Red-co-writer and co-producer of NEAR DARK-and worked with established Hollywood actors for the first time when she made another implicit attempt to break free from the twilit Zone Wars and kick off a whole new decade of daylit film art in the Nineties and address Cronenberg again in her next fearless, confident, artistic, original, twilit, neo-Western, CGI free and truly relentless allegorical indie docufeature film, BLUE STEEL (1990).
‘Dawson’s gonna tear him a new asshole.’
Intriguingly, the film began with the camera point of view (POV) moving down a narrow hotel or apartment hallway towards a loud argument between a man and a woman as the opening titles flashed on the screen. Significantly, the third title was ‘A Kathryn Bigelow Film’, which implicitly affirmed Bigelow’s confidence that she was maturing and succeeding as a fearless film artist. Thus, it was fitting that immediately after that confident declaration, a female police officer with no name-played by Jamie Lee Curtis-appeared from behind the camera and moved down the narrow hallway towards the argument. Ironically, however, the scenario evoked not a Bigelow film but a similar scene in a hallway in the Palace Arms Hotel in Toronto in the presciently twilit and allegorical Cronenberg film, VIDEODROME (1982), openly linking another Bigelow film to the twilit and disastrous year of 1982 and to the film art of Cronenberg. A link affirmed by the androgynous female police officer, who resembled Cronenberg. Her subtle link to red and white Canuck colour combinations-particularly at the beginning of the film-reaffirmed her implicit link to Cronenberg, reminding us that the implicitly Cronenberg linked Vance was also subtly linked to red and white Canuck colour combinations throughout THE LOVELESS. In addition, her cranky, police hating and Mordechai Richler resembling and implicitly linked father, Frank-played by Philip Bosco-reaffirmed her implicit link to a Canadian film artist. Last but not least, her love of snow also affirmed her link to a Canadian film artist.
Curiously, while failing the domestic disturbance-with the young man and woman involved resembling Caleb and Mae, and played by Markus Flanagan and Mary Mara, respectively-which turned out to be a police academy test, Officer Megan Turner still passed overall. Soon Officer Turner was sworn into the ranks of the New York Police Department and allowed to be a gun toting neo-Western ‘deputy sheriff’, implying the hope of Bigelow that she had also joined the ranks of serious film artist. Indeed, the close-up shots of the bullet chamber of her Smith and Wesson .38 Special that were intercut with the opening titles and shots of Officer Turner dressing for her NYPD induction ceremony affirmed her implicit link to film artists. For the revolving chamber evoked a revolving reel on a film projector, implicitly equating shooting a gun with shooting a film.
An implicitly film art linked shooting that Officer Turner was soon put on probation for, for she shot dead an implicitly drugged up and out of control grocery store robber-played by Tom Sizemore-on her first shift as a neo-Western officer. The fact that Turner was later made an honourary NYPD Homicide Detective to help out with the film’s desperate hunt for a serial killer and paired up with the Cronenberg resembling and implicitly linked NYPD Homicide Detective Nicholas ‘Nick’ Mann-played by Clancy Brown-also reaffirmed her implicit link to Cronenberg. Significantly, Officer Turner also unknowingly developed a romantic relationship with the crazed killer in question, the Landis resembling and implicitly linked Wall Street trader by day and serial killer by night, Eugene Hunt-played by Ron Silver. Indeed, the sight of Hunt standing amongst the traders in the New York Stock Exchange and trading along with them evoked similar scenes in the twilit and allegorical Landis film, TRADING PLACES (1983), affirming the implicit link of Hunt to Landis.
In addition, a nighttime helicopter trip that Hunt treated Turner to before she realized that he was the serial killer that she was hunting openly evoked the fatal helicopter crash of the TZ disaster. Thus, given that Officer Turner spent the film hunting down and outing Silver as the serial killer and then gunning him down in the gunslinger neo-Western end, Bigelow implied that she disapproved of Cronenberg’s support for Landis after the TZ disaster-which included a cameo appearance in the twilit and allegorical Landis film, INTO THE NIGHT (1985), in an open show of support for Landis-and wanted him to cut his ties with Landis cold turkey. This implication was affirmed by Officer Turner’s badge number, for # 88552 openly linked her to 1985 and to the twilight and disastrous year of 1982. Allowing Turner to gun down Hunt, in the end, may have also been Bigelow’s way of allowing Curtis to atone for her sins, given that Curtis appeared as Ophelia, the hooker with a heart of gold, in TRADING PLACES.
Curiously, the presence of the implicitly Stanley Kubrick linked Assistant Chief Stanley Hoyt-played by Kevin Dunn-implied that Bigelow was now pragmatically going to fuse her indie artistry with the commercial blockbuster in order to create artbusters like Kubrick so that she could be a more financially successful film artist. For his part, Luc Besson implicitly roasted Bigelow that same year in his twilit and allegorical film, LA FEMME NIKITA (1990), which implicitly linked Bigelow to Anne Parillaud’s lean, confident and violent Nikita, a secret French government assassin who gave up on her stressful and violent life at the end of the film, which appeared to be Besson’s implicit way of stating that the stress of being a successful film artist would prove too much for a woman, causing Bigelow to give up too and leave film art to the guys. Significantly, Lynch also implicitly weighed in on Bigelow that year, as the sultry rebel rocker look of THE LOVELESS returned in such twilit and allegorical Lynch fare as the TWIN PEAKS telemoving painting series (1990-91)-with Dana Ashbrook’s Bobby Briggs implicitly linked to Bigelow-and the openly Ozian themed and Montgomery co-produced moving painting, WILD AT HEART (1990)-with saw Defoe return as Bobby Peru. All of which encouraged Bigelow to fuse NEAR DARK with THE LOVELESS when she teamed up with husband and executive producer Cameron, Sizemore, BLUE STEEL co-producer Michael Rauch and NEAR DARK editor Howard E. Smith-editor of the fourth Miller episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE-to develop her own artbuster style and implicitly address Lucas and Lynch again in the fearless, violent, Ozian themed, openly neo-Western, CGI enhanced, twilit and allegorical indie docufeature artbuster, POINT BREAK (1991).
‘Big wave riding’s for macho assholes with a death wish.’
Indeed, the sight of the gung ho young FBI trainee, Johnny Utah-played by Keanu Reeves-blasting his way through shotgun and handgun tests at a FBI shooting gallery at Quantico at the beginning of the film, one target resembling and perhaps linked to Bigelow-and noticeably passing the tests, unlike Turner at the beginning of BLUE STEEL, implying that the confidence of Bigelow was increasing-brought the two weapons of choice of all good Westerns into the picture to immediately and implicitly affirm that the film was another idiosyncratic neo-Western. With an emphasis on idiosyncratic, for the sight of potential FBI Agent Utah shooting up the targets was intercut with the sight and sound of the surfer double of the freedom loving and mystic surfing for surf’s sake outlaw, Bodhi-played by Patrick Swayze-in his element, surfing off Latigo Beach in L.A., the perfect location for a neo-Western.
Significantly, the sight of Bodhi surfing reminded us of the mystic and devout sandworm riding Fremen of the desert world of Arrakis and the offworlder, Paul ‘Maud’dib’ Atreides-played by Kyle MacLachlan-who became their equally mystic and visionary leader in DUNE. Thus, it was not surprising that Bodhi emerged as the mystic, freedom loving and implicitly Lynch linked leader of a gang of blockbuster bank robbing surfers. This implication that Lynch was the target of POINT BREAK as in THE LOVELESS was affirmed not just by the film’s allusions to WILD AT HEART, but by the arrival of FBI Special Agent Utah at the L.A HQ of the FBI, working with the implicitly Coppola linked Angelo Pappas-played by Gary Busey-in the bank robbery squad. For the name of Johnny Utah evoked that of MacLachlan’s Jeffrey Beaumont in BLUE VELVET, while his status as a successfully trained FBI Special Agent reminded us that MacLachlan played the equally clean cut and eager beaver FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper in TWIN PEAKS.
Not surprisingly, given that the opening prologue had not just fused heady surf scenes-joined later in the film with equally heady skydiving scenes-with boffo blockbuster target shooting scenes to affirm the artbuster nature of the film but intertwined the lives and destinies of Bodhi and Utah, the gung ho new FBI agent was soon driving around L.A. in his fittingly neo-Western Mustang and going undercover as a local surfer to track down, infiltrate and ultimately triumph over Bodhi and his gang of mystic blockbuster bank robbing surfers, the latest anti-establishment gang implicitly linked to film artists in a Bigelow film. Significantly, seeing Utah in his wet suit surfing evoked free dive champion Jacques Mayol-played by Bruce Guerre-Berthelot-in the twilit and allegorical Besson film, BIG BLUE (1988), implicitly linking Utah to Besson.
However, the sight and sound of Bodhi training Utah in the mystic way of the surfer and rescuing Utah from a rival surfer gang also evoked the sight and sound of Jedi Knight Ben Obi Wan Kenobi-played by Sir Alec Guinness-training Luke in the mystic ways of the Jedi and coming to his rescue in the Mos Eisley cantina in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, implicitly linking Utah to Lucas. Thus, the dual triumph of Utah over Bodhi and his gang after the failure of the last blockbuster bank robbery and the Aim and Organna evoking rescue of Utah’s abducted androgynous girl, Lori Petty’s Tyler Ann Endicott-whose feistiness evoked both Princess Leia and Maud’dib’s girl, Chani, played by Sean Young in DUNE, and who fittingly resembled Utah’s Jedi twin sister-implicitly symbolized the hope of Bigelow and Cameron that Lucas would soon triumph over Lynch and kick off a Skyrocking new era of CGI enhanced film art with a new film. This concluding triumph also reaffirmed Bodhi’s implicit link to Lynch, for the sight of Utah allowing Bodhi to bring the film full circle and to kill himself trying to surf a blockbuster once-in-fifty-years wave off of Bell’s Beach in Australia-actually, off the coast of Oregon-at the end of the film evoked a large wave curling over a Caladan beach at the end of DUNE, reminding us that DUNE had been a blockbuster failure for Lynch, as well.
At any rate, allusions to BLADE RUNNER, particularly during the shootout at the house of the rival surfer gang, also implied that Bigelow and Cameron were roasting Sir Scott in the form of Bunker Weiss-played by Chris Pedersen-in the film, perhaps for also implicitly sympathizing with Lynch in the twilit and allegorical film, SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME (1987). Curiously, the sight of the implicitly Kubrick linked Lupton ‘Warchild’ Pitman-played by Vincent Klyn-being taken down with Weiss by the FBI during the raid on the rival surf gang house also implied that while Bigelow was embracing the Kubrickian artbuster, she was not embracing the Kubrick style of artbuster. Indeed, Bigelow implied that she was wanted to beat Kubrick at his own artbuster game.
Curiously, Cameron implicitly affirmed his support for the implicit Lynch roasting intent of POINT BREAK by also implicitly roasting Lynch that year in the implicit form of the dread T-1000 Terminator-played by Robert Patrick-in his twilit, CGI enhanced and allegorical Zonebuster, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991). The following year, Bigelow was implicitly and mischievously linked by Tim Burton to Michelle Pfeiffer’s Selena ‘Catwoman’ Kyle in the twilit, implicitly Lucas supporting and allegorical film, BATMAN RETURNS (1992). Burton also implicitly likened her dislike of Lynch to the cranky relationship Lisa Marie’s implicitly Bigelow linked Maila ‘Vampira’ Nurmi had with Johnny Depp’s implicitly Lynch linked Ed Wood jr. in the twilit, allegorical and implicitly Lynch roasting film, ED WOOD (1994). For his part, Alex Proyas implied that Bigelow had established herself enough that she could be implicitly linked to a superhero in his twilit, despondent and allegorical film, THE CROW (1994).
‘We killed you dead! There ain’t no coming back!’
Indeed, THE CROW affirmed its implicit intent with its many allusions to the allegorical Burton film, BATMAN (1989), BATMAN RETURNS and STREETS OF FIRE-including another rockin’ soundtrack-with another four man and adrenaline addicted outlaw gang that evoked the Ex-Presidents gang in POINT BREAK, and with an implicitly Bigelow linked, resembling and undead hero in Brandon Lee’s Eric ‘the Crow’ Draven-his name evoking Eric Red, the co-writer and co-producer of NEAR DARK and co-writer of BLUE STEEL, and Tarver of THE LOVELESS. However, while THE CROW constantly alluded to STREETS OF FIRE in the tenth anniversary year of that film, there were two main differences between the films.
First of all, the film’s female lead and implicit symbol of film art, Sofia Sania’s Sofia Coppola resembling Shelly Webster, was not rescued at the end of the film like Ellen Aim, allowing the art of film to live another day. Instead she died after being brutally beaten and raped by the outlaw and four man ‘Fire It Up’ gang-led by David P. Kelly’s implicitly Cameron linked and psychotic T-Bird-at the beginning of the film. Secondly, when Draven tried to stop the assault on his fiancée, Webster, he was killed by the Fire It Up gang, making him, and unlike Cody, very much dead. Thirdly, while Draven did come back from the dead and avenge Webster’s death as the eerie, implacable and unstoppable Crow like an undead Batman, killing T-Bird and the rest of the Fire It Up Gang one by one-including Angel David’s implicitly Spielberg linked Skank-and the kingpin who had ordered the murders of Draven and Webster-Michael Wincott’s implicitly Burton linked Top Dollar-for all of their blockbuster sins, he did not succeed in bringing Webster or himself back to life. Instead, THE CROW ended with Draven embracing the ghost of Webster back at the cemetery before both returned to their now peaceful graves.
Thus, Proyas implied that, ten years after the art of film had been rescued at the end of STREETS OF FIRE, pure film art for film art’s sake had been killed by directors like Burton and Spielberg with shameless filmmercials like BATMAN and the twilit, CGI enhanced and allegorical Spielberg filmmercial, JURASSIC PARK (1993), with their massive movie tie-in merchandise campaigns and naked lusts for blockbuster loot-a naked lust that Top Dollar summed up too well when at one point he chortled happily, ‘Greed is for amateurs!’ Indeed, Proyas implied that film art had been killed so dead, more serious film artists like Bigelow and her hated rival, Lynch, would not be able to save it, like Draven was not able to save, or revive, Webster. A gloomy prognosis indeed, and one that Bigelow did her best to dispel when she teamed up again with co-producer and co-writer Cameron-now an ex-husband-Sizemore and Smith and returned to L.A. to implicitly and confidently affirm her commitment to the artbuster and to reply to LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL, THE CROW and the ’92 re-release of BLADE RUNNER with her biggest and most fearless, quirky, violent, twilit, CGI enhanced and controversial allegorical indie docufeature artbuster to date, STRANGE DAYS (1995).
‘You know one of the ways that movies
are still better than playback?
‘Cuz the music comes up, there’s credits
and you always know when it’s over.
Significantly, the film began with a title identifying it as a Lightstorm Entertainment Production, which was the film production company of Cameron, implying that it was more of a Cameron film than a Bigelow film. Then a title placing the film in L.A. in the early morning hours of December 30, 1999 appeared, quickly followed by a close-up of an eye of a lovable lunk with the Johnny Utah cadenced name of Lenny Nero-played by Ralph Fiennes. This close-up eye evoked a close-up of an eye seen at the beginning of BLADE RUNNER, a film that also took place in a future L.A., in the first of many allusions to that film in STRANGE DAYS. Then Nero used a wireless Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) headset to playback the recorded experience of one of a twilit trio of young and nylon stocking masked Caucasian male robbers of a Vietnamese restaurant. Significantly, these three robbers were implicitly linked to film artists again as they evoked the bank robbing and equally masked surfers of POINT BREAK and the Fire It Up gang in THE CROW.
Not surprisingly, Nero was outraged that the SQUID playback recording unexpectedly ended with the robber who was being recorded-played by Ron Young-falling to this death off the roof of the apartment complex housing the ground floor restaurant as he evaded the police. While this death recalled another rooftop chase that led to a police officer falling to his doom at the beginning of the allegorical and Ozian themed Alfred Hitchcock film, VERTIGO (1959), it also reminded us that after being shot by the Fire It Up gang, Draven was tossed out of the main window of a loft to his death before returning to life as the implacable and avenging Crow at the beginning of THE CROW. This fatal fall also reminded us that Kathleen Wilhoite’s Michelle, a troubled patient of the implicitly Lucas linked bachelor Doctor William ‘Bill’ Capa-played by Bruce Willis-leapt out of one of his office windows to her doom at the New York beginning of the implicitly Lucas addressing and allegorical Richard Rush film, COLOR OF NIGHT (1994), an allusion that was the first sign that Nero was also implicitly linked to Lucas in STRANGE DAYS.
Tellingly, while supposedly miffed that the SQUID playback led to the death of the robber, Nero was not so miffed that he did not buy this ‘black jack’ snuff SQUID recording from the implicitly Landis linked and gleefully amoral Tick-played by Richard Edson-for a reduced price due to its deadly content. Leaving behind Tick, Nero then cruised the streets of L.A. in his Benz like Dr. Capa did in COLOR OF NIGHT, in another allusion to that film that reaffirmed the implicit link of Nero to Lucas, his TZ disaster linked license plates of LN 237 throwing more doubt on his dislike of snuff recordings. This restless driving alone in his car also evoked Paul Le Mat’s implicitly Great Oz and John Milius linked John Milner cruising the equally restless and riotous night streets of Modesto in his Yellow Brick Roadster in AMERICAN GRAFFITI and Robert De Niro’s implicitly Lucas linked Travis Bickle in his Yellow Brick Taxi in the allegorical and implicitly Lucas roasting Martin Scorsese film, TAXI DRIVER (1976), reaffirming his link to Lucas. The discovery that Nero was an ex-LAPD officer reaffirmed his implicit link to Lucas, reminding us that the Force was no longer with Lucas in 1995, and that police officers implicitly symbolized successful professional film artists in BLUE STEEL.
Curiously, Nero initially fiddled-or was that squiddled?-while the police cordoned downtown core of a twilit Los Angeles that was heading down the dire path leading to the L.A. of BLADE RUNNER burned in the last restless and combative nights before New Year’s Eve 1999 ushered in the new millennium. These riotous streets of fire reminded us that the equally dark and violent events of THE CROW took place on the All Devil’s Night on the 30th of October before Hallowe’en. Indeed, the non-stop rock and roll of STRANGE DAYS-some of it live-evoked the non-stop rockin roll of AMERICAN GRAFFITI-some of it also live-as well as the non-stop rock n roll of STREETS OF FIRE and its dark and despondent tenth anniversary rebuttal, THE CROW, some of it live in those three films, as well-how fitting that Deep Forest’s ‘Coral Lounge’ clocked in at 3:27 on the incomplete soundtrack. Heck, even COLOR OF NIGHT featured Spoon live at the Whisky when that film’s action switched from New York to L.A.
When he wasn’t driving, Nero frantically peddled SQUID playback recordings, emphasizing as a selling point that playback users could not be hurt in any way as they were experiencing another person’s experiences, not reality. Nero also tried to persuade people to wear SQUID headsets and record experiences for him-particularly sexual experiences-that he could sell to addicts known as wireheads. Of course, these SQUID headsets evoked similar experience recording devices encountered in the allegorical literary art of William Gibson, including the apparent sensory perception (ASP) decks of the short story, ‘Fragments Of A Hologram Rose’ (1977), the superconducting quantum interference detectors (Squids) of the short story, ‘Johnny Mnemonic’ (1981), and the simstim of his allegorical novel, Neuromancer (1984), wistfully linking the film to the Skyrocking year of 1977 and the Last Good Year of film art-as well as one of the first years of the dread Zone Wars. Nero’s tragicomic SQUID hustling reminded us that in 1995 Lucas was also doing his best to peddle computer generated imagery (CGI) enhanced film art to the film art community so as to prevent film set fatalities, reaffirming Nero’s implicit link to Lucas. Indeed, the fact that Nero was adamantly opposed to sanctioning or selling SQUID recordings of people’s deaths affirmed that he wanted SQUID recordings to enhance and promote life, like Lucas wanted CGI to enhance film art and save lives on sets.
Significantly, the sight and sound of Nero peddling playback was suddenly intercut with the sight and sound of a beautiful and scantily clad young woman-played by Brigitte Bako-frantically running down the concrete stairs into the Union Station subway station. Hot on her heels were two homicidal LAPD officers, Dwayne Engelman-implicitly linked to then Disney COO Frank Wells, and played by William Fichtner-and Burton Steckler-implicitly linked to then Disney CEO Michael Eisner, and played by Vincent D’Onofrio. These two Evil and psychotic police officers were the exact opposite of the implicitly Spielberg linked Cooley and Price-played by Rick Rossovich (who also played Matt in THE TERMINATOR) and Richard Lawson, respectively-the bumbling but Good police officers in STREETS OF FIRE. In fact, the two psychos recalled One Blood and the Evil and implicitly Cameron linked DEA Agent Stansfield-played by Gary Oldman-in LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL. The two LAPD officers also evoked the robot police officers who chased SEN 5241, SRT and THX 1138-played by Donald Pleasance, Don Pedro Colley and Robert Duvall, respectively-in and out of a station in the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system in THX 1138 in another affirmation of the Lucas addressing intent of STRANGE DAYS.
Luckily for the young woman, she managed to evade Engelman and Steckler and escape on a departing subway train. Soon after, around 4:05 am, she left Nero a telephone message at his one-bedroom bachelor pad in which she identified herself as Iris. Her name evoked Iris-played by Jody Foster-in TAXI DRIVER, in another affirmation of the implicit Lucas addressing intent of STRANGE DAYS. Significantly, a tv screen played the message as it was spoken by Iris and identified her phone number as 213.555.8947. This phone number linked Iris to the fateful numbers 237, reaffirming the film’s implicit interest in the TZ disaster. Unaware of the danger Iris was in because she hung up before Nero could pick up his phone, Nero was soon blissfully lost in a SQUID recording that saw him roller skating with his implicitly Spielberg linked ex-girlfriend, Faith-played by Juliette Lewis-a singer who evoked Aim in STREETS OF FIRE.
Significantly, Nero was also unaware that as he blissed out on one of his favourite SQUID recordings, his reflection was silently seen in a mirror in his bedroom. This reflection reaffirmed Bigelow and Cameron’s interest in Rush in STRANGE DAYS, as a character’s reflection in a mirror or window was always the subtle sign that a pivotal moment was occurring inside a character in the film art of Rush that was causing that character to leave the right path and head down the wrong path. Luckily for the character, this inner decision was not irreversible, for the common sense of the real world character could still prevail over their reversed mirror image fantasy double and bring harmony back to their life, in the end. Clearly for Nero, that fateful and wrong inner decision was choosing to playback the SQUID recording of Faith, making it already clear that Faith was bad news.
In addition, the sight of Nero blissing out on the playback implied that being a wirehead was a dangerous addiction, for he moaned and writhed in ecstasy like a heroin user high on the latest rush to the main vein-SQUID runner, indeed. Since Nero was implicitly linked to Lucas, Bigelow and Cameron also implied that they were warning him to be more wary of CGI and Spielberg, for fear they would cost him his humanity and the humanity of his film art. This latter implication was affirmed by all of the allusions to AMERICAN GRAFFITI and THX 1138 in STRANGE DAYS, as the two finest films Lucas ever created were mostly post-production visual effects free.
Soon Iris was raped and murdered in her hotel room at the Sunset Regent, a brutal death that reminded us that the TZ disaster and its repercussions had killed Lucas and his film art. Significantly, with her blonde wig off during her rape/murder, Iris resembled the irritating Carol-played by Mackenzie Phillips-in AMERICAN GRAFFITI and Princess Leia in the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy in more affirmations of the implicit Lucas addressing intent of the film. The rapist/murderer also recorded his and her experience of her rape/murder on SQUID, and sent the insidious dual black jack SQUID recording to Nero to experience, allowing a man to experience a brutal rape/murder and see how much they liked it. Significantly, this murderous rape recalled a bondage rape seen in a porn film at the beginning of the allegorical and implicitly Lucas roasting Dante film, THE HOWLING (1981), reaffirming that Lucas was being addressed in STRANGE DAYS, and also linked the rapist/murderer of Iris to Dante.
Intriguingly, Iris was murdered because she also inadvertently recorded Engelman and Stickler killing a twilit trio of two males and one female, the Diamond club and Diamondback evoking prostitute, Diamanda, the crusading and perhaps Spike Lee linked rap star, Jeriko One, and his bandmate James ‘Replay’ Polton-played by Anais Munoz, Glenn Plummer and Malcolm Norrington, respectively. These nightmarish black jack SQUID recordings slowly and reluctantly Forced Nero to leave behind his dissolute despair and track down the killer of Iris with the help of his bodyguard/chauffeur friend, Lornette ‘Mace’ Mason-played by Angela Bassett.
Significantly, while sensitive and emotional, Mace was stronger, tougher and more grounded and knowing than Nero, as befitting someone with a nickname that evoked mace spray and medieval spiked clubs. In fact, she was the most formidable and beautiful female character yet in a Bigelow film, the embodiment of the unusually masculine but heterosexual Bigelow woman. Mace also evoked the equally tough, knowing and indomitable McCoy-played by Amy Madigan-and how she helped another implicitly Lucas linked character, Cody, rescue Aim, the singer evoked by Faith, in STREETS OF FIRE. Mace also reaffirmed Nero’s link to Lucas, for it had been known for years that in the original script for the STAR WARS saga there was a character named Mace Bindu, who would shortly appear as J. D. Jedi Master Mace Windu-played by Samuel L. Jackson-the head of the twelve member Jedi Council in the STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy.
Eventually, Nero tracked down the killer in hotel room 2203, a fateful room number that evoked the 2:20 am time of the TZ disaster on the fateful 23rd of July of 1982. And it turned out the killer was his best friend, Max Peltier-played by Sizemore-a complex character, as he was linked to Dante by the SQUID recording of his rape of Iris, to Spielberg by his secret relationship with Faith, resembled Besson with his brunette wig on and was as bald as Proyas when his wig came surprisingly off in the struggle that broke out between Nero and Peltier after Peltier was revealed as the murderer. The desperate battle ultimately led to Nero dropping Peltier off room 2203’s balcony to his doom, a fatal fall that evoked the fatal fall of one of the robbers in the black jack SQUID clip Nero experienced at the beginning of the film, bringing STRANGE DAYS full circle. The fatal fall also evoked the fall that killed Top Dollar at the end of THE CROW, a death evoked by the fact that Wincott returned as Faith’s implicitly Sir Scott linked manager, Philo Gant, in STRANGE DAYS. Soon Engelman and Steckler died too, perhaps Bigelow and Cameron’s implicit way of hoping that Wells and Eisner would soon be replaced as heads of Disney.
Shortly after, Nero also gave up on his ill advised dream to reconnect with his lost and lamented love, the faithless Faith, who had been in league with Peltier, a dream that had clearly been in the wrong since the mirror image of Nero had silently appeared as he blissed out to that SQUID playback of Faith at the beginning of the film. Instead, Nero finally dropped SQUID runner fantasies and embraced the loving reality of Mace, reminding us that after Cody dropped Aim and walked forlornly out of the Diamond at the end of STREETS OF FIRE, he was soon given a ride by the real McCoy. Thus, Bigelow and Cameron also implied their hope that Lucas would finally leave behind CGI fantasies and Spielberg and return to his effects free cinematic roots. And so a symbolic Lucas fell down the vertiginous heights of true love with the Afro-Queen of his THX 1138 hologram dreams as the pumped L.A. crowds first rioted and battled the police in an ending that evoked the equally riotous and loving conclusion of another allegorical Rush film, GETTING STRAIGHT (1970)-the film also alluded to the epic allegorical Rush film, THE STUNTMAN (1980)-before everyone cheered on the arrival of the new millennium in the ecstatically eucatastrophic end.
And so Bigelow and Cameron implied their hope that Lucas would return to the true path and knock off Besson, Proyas and Spielberg with an allegorical film that would use CGI sparingly and break the world of film art free from CGI dependencies, the TZ disaster, the Zone and the Zone Wars forever, ushering in a daylit, life affirming and Skyrocking new millennium of film art in style. Alas, the attempt of Lucas to do just that with his uber CGI enhanced STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy failed just as badly as did INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM and STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, affirming that for Lucas, the dream was, indeed, over. For Bigelow and Cameron, however, the dream was breaking open, allowing them to have a major influence on a new millennium of film art in open defiance of the gloomy ending of THE CROW. Indeed, with its innovative screenplay, inspired performances, striking visuals, crisp and clear cinematography, and innovative set, costume and makeup, STRANGE DAYS made clear that Bigelow and Cameron were poised to make a big impact in the new millennium. Though noticeably without a significant Bigelow woman, as STRANGE DAYS was the last time a woman as physically assertive as Mace appeared in a Bigelow film.
Curiously, Paul Verhoeven implicitly likened the rivalry that had developed between Bigelow and Lynch to the rivalry between two Las Vegas showgirls, the tall, assertive, pugnacious and indie dancer, Nomi Malone-played by Elizabeth Berkley-and the shorter and Sherilyn Fenn resembling headlining dancer, Cristal Connors-played by Gina Gershon-in his twilit and allegorical film, SHOWGIRLS (1995).
‘I hate you.’
Indeed, the film’s allusions to NEAR DARK and WILD AT HEART and the presence of MacLachlan as Stardust Hotel Entertainment Director, Zack Carey, the man caught between the two feuding showgirls, affirmed the implicit Bigelow and Lynch addressing intent of the film. The resemblance of the climatic dance routine to the live allegorical Lynch moving painting, INDUSTRIAL SYMPHONY NO. 1: THE DREAM OF THE BROKEN HEARTED (1990), also affirmed the implicit interest in Lynch in SHOWGIRLS. The presence of Stardust choreographer, Marty Jacobsen-played by Patrick Bristow-reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in Bigelow and Lynch, as Marty resembled Montgomery, Bigelow’s co-writer and co-director on THE LOVELESS.
Curiously, Malone’s vengefully violent triumph over the brutal and implicitly Cameron linked pop star, Andrew Carver-played by William Shockley-presciently anticipated a future triumph over Cameron at the 2009 Academy Awards ceremony. Thus, given this implicit interest in Bigelow, it was fitting that Plummer and Jim Ishida played James Smith and Mr. Okida, respectively, in SHOWGIRLS, given that they played Jeriko One and Mr. Fumitsu, respectively, in STRANGE DAYS.
Curiously, Malone’s rivalry with Connors also presciently anticipated a rivalry that would develop between Bigelow and Coppola in time. Indeed, Coppola would soon implicitly and cattily roast Bigelow in the implicit form of teen mean girl Chloe-played by Audrey Heaven-in her first allegorical short film, LICK THE STAR (1998). As for Besson, he implicitly affirmed that he believed that Peltier was linked to him in STRANGE DAYS by furiously and literally roasting Bigelow in the implicit form of Joan of Arc-played by by Milla Jovovich-in the twilit, CGI enhanced and allegorical film, THE MESSENGER (1999), and affirmed the film’s implicit Bigelow addressing intent with allusions to LA FEMME NIKITA and STRANGE DAYS. For their part, Lana and Lilly Wachowski implicitly linked Bigelow to Trinity-played by Carrie-Anne Moss-in their twilit, CGI enhanced and allegorical film, THE MATRIX (1999), an implication affirmed by the film’s allusions to NEAR DARK, POINT BREAK and STRANGE DAYS. All of which no doubt inspired Bigs to team up again with Smith and THE LOVELESS co-producer A. Kitman Ho and return to the Temple Theatre with her most mature, thought provoking, fearless, CGI free and uncharacteristically feminine allegorical indie docufeature artbuster to date, THE WEIGHT OF WATER (2000), inspired by the allegorical Anita Shreve novel, The Weight Of Water (1997), which was an implicit twentieth anniversary year reply to the allegorical and implicitly Kubrick addressing Screamin’ Stephen King novel, The Shining (1977), with a dash of the allegorical King novel, Carrie (1974), thrown in for good measure.
‘Love is never as ferocious
as when you think it’s gonna leave.’
Significantly, the film began with a haunting and surreal montage that accompanied the opening titles-with the third title again openly and proudly declaring THE WEIGHT OF WATER a Kathryn Bigelow film-a surreal and haunting montage that evoked the allegorical film art of both Lynch and Guy Maddin and implied that Bigelow was addressing one or both film artists in the film. Images appeared and disappeared in bubbling blue water like ghosts, first a floating white shroud, then a picture of a wooden house, words being written on white paper, a newspaper article about the tragedy in the Isles of Shoals in King’s Maine, a small cross on a falling neck chain, the ghost shroud again, the handwriting of one Maren Hontredt, a map of the Isles of Shoals, the ghost shroud once more, photocopied pictures of an ax and a Caucasian man with black hair, eyes and moustache, all to the sound of a David Hirschfelder soundtrack that evoked the soundtracks that Angelo Badalamenti had composed for Lynch since BLUE VELVET. Then the water disappeared and a full moon appeared in a cloud scudding night sky accompanied by the sound of a crowd of angry voices, evoking the full moons seen high in the night sky in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON.
A timely evocation of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, for soon nineteenth century police were seen leading a man who resembled the man in the photocopied picture in the opening haunting montage and Landis through an angry and shouting crowd to a horse drawn wagon. This outraged beginning recalled the ending of all good monster movies, with the mob of angry villagers with torches and pitchforks chasing the latest allegorical incarnation of Frankenstein or the Werewolf through their dark and moonlit town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The man was put on the wagon, and the wagon rolled away. Then the miserable man was seen in jail, where he was visited by a young and twilit trio of two men and one woman, all blonde Norwegians, and identified by the woman as the perpetrator of some unknown crime.
The scene then shifted to a trial, where we discovered that the despised, jailed and Landis resembling and implicitly linked man was Louis Wagner-played by Ciaran Hinds-a frightened German bachelor, who was believed to be the monster who had killed two young Norwegian immigrant women, the beautiful Hollywood evoking blonde, Anethe Christenson, and the implicitly Spielberg linked brunette, Karen Christenson-murders that evoked the murders of Diamonda and Iris in STRANGE DAYS, and played by Vinessa Shaw and Katrin Cartlidge, respectively-on the nearby and Hollywood cadenced Smuttynose Island in the Isle of Shoals chain off the coast, murder shrouded islands that evoked the equally dark and murderous islands of Nublar and Sorna, part of los Cincos Muertes Archipelago in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Kennedy and Marshall produced Spielberg films, JURASSIC PARK (1993) and THE LOST WORLD (1997). Here at the trial we also discovered that the twilit trio that visited Wagner in jail were Anethe’s angry, despondent and handsome husband, Evan Christenson-played by Anders W. Berthelsen-and Karen’s troubled younger sister, Maren Hontvedt, and her Maddin resembling and implicitly linked husband, John Hontvedt-played by Sarah Polley and Ulrich Thomsen, respectively.
Curiously, just when Maren began her testimony with a film long VO, the scene shifted from 1873 to the present, where we met the implicitly Lynch linked poet, Thomas Janes-played by Sean Penn, who openly linked another Bigelow film to the twilit and disastrous year of 1982 via his role as Jeff Spicoli in the allegorical Amy Heckerling film, FAST TIMES AT RIDGMONT HIGH (1982)-and his photojournalist wife, Jean Janes-a career that perhaps linked her to Kubrick given that he was a photojournalist before he became a film artist, and played by Catherine McCormack. The two were driving off to meet the younger brother of Thomas, the Cameron resembling and possibly linked Rich Janes-played by Josh Lucas-who was as blonde and handsome as Evan Christenson and who had promised to take them on a cruise on his sailboat that would also include a stop at Smuttynose Island so that Jean could investigate the murders of Anethe and Karen for an article. Curiously, Jean also began a film long VO of her own at this point that alternated with that of Maren for the rest of the film, linking her to Maren.
Arriving at the dock and clambering aboard the Antares, Jean and Thomas met not only Rich but his beautiful, sexy and sensual new girlfriend, the Bigelow resembling and possibly linked Adaline ‘Smokin’’ Gunne-played by Elizabeth Hurley. Significantly, Adaline was as beautiful as Anethe, creating another Hollywood evoking couple like Evan and Anethe Christenson in contrast to the more normal and cigarette smoking Thomas and Jean Janes, who evoked the pipe smoking and equally normal John and Maren Hontvedt. As sparks quickly flew between Adaline and Thomas, the sailors reached Smuttynose Island and headed ashore on an outboard motor boat. Curiously, while examining the foundations that were all that was left of the Hontvedt’s old house on the island, Jean heard voices and saw visons that linked her again to Maren and the murders. This link became open when Jean left the others and took shelter under a large rock on the shore, imitating Maren who we saw seeking shelter under the same rock after the murders, perhaps implying that Jean was a reincarnation of Maren.
At any rate, over much of the rest of the film, we saw and heard Maren give her testimony. Telling the court how she arrived at Smuttynose Island, wearing a scarf on her head and clothing that made her resemble the young Dutch woman in the allegorical Johannes Vermeer painting, ‘The Girl With The Pearl Earring’ (1665), implicitly linking Maren to painting in particular and art in general. We saw and heard how Karen arrived at the island after the death of the patriarch of the Christenson family in Norway, how Wagner arrived soon after, and how Evan and Anethe Christenson soon joined them all. We saw Wagner hit on and be rebuffed by Maren and Anethe, leading him to be banished from the island by the angry John and Evan. Eventually, we also saw how Maren actually murdered Anethe and Karen like a despondently furious and vengeful Carrie White or axe wielding Jackie Torrance, for Maren was angry that Karen had revealed to Anethe that as a youth she had had an incestuous relationship with her brother, Evan. After killing the beautiful, blonde and implicitly Hollywood linked Anethe with an axe and bludgeoning and strangling Karen to death, Maren then blamed the murders on the already despised Wagner, who was found guilty at the end of his trial.
Significantly, when the film finally returned full monstrous and climatic circle to Maren’s murders of Anethe and Karen at the end of the film, the murders were intercut with the sight and sound of Thomas drowning trying to save Adaline, who was perhaps deliberately allowed to be swept off the Antares into the surging ocean during a storm by Jean, perhaps because she wanted Thomas to drown trying to save Adaline due to his attraction to her and perhaps even an implicit affair that the two had had on board ship. Certainly, the fact that Jean saw a vision of Maren as she floundered underwater after diving in guiltily to save Thomas implicitly affirmed the link of the two women and implied that Jean was as much of a murderer as Maren. The fact that Wagner was held at a prison called Thomaston before he was hung right around the time Thomas drowned also linked the murders of 1873 to the death of Thomas in the present. And so the film art of Bigelow, Cameron, Maddin and perhaps even Kubrick lived on in the implicit forms of Adaline, Rich, Maren and possibly Jean, while died did the film art of Landis, Lynch and Spielberg in the implicit forms of Louis, Thomas and Karen.
Significantly, the drowning of Thomas also reminded us that the implicitly Lynch linked Bodhi died in the ocean too at the end of POINT BREAK, linking Thomas to Bodhi in a way that reaffirmed the implicit link of Thomas to Lynch. This howling Atlantic storm also evoked the howling Atlantic storm that pounded another sailing boat in the allegorical and implicitly Lynch supporting Sir Scott film, WHITE SQUALL (1996), reaffirming the implicit link of Thomas to Lynch. Making it fitting that Sir Scott implicitly linked Bigelow to FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling in his twilit, allegorical and implicitly David Cronenberg addressing film, HANNIBAL (2001). As for Lynch, he implicitly linked Bigelow to the Wicked Witch of the West-played by Bonnie Aarons-hiding behind Winkie’s restaurant in the twilit, CGI free and allegorical moving painting, MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001), an implicit link affirmed by the film’s allusions to NEAR DARK and THE WEIGHT OF WATER-including a prominent place for a reproduction of ‘The Girl With The Pearl Earring’.
Then Sir Scott also implicitly linked Bigelow to lonely grocery cashier, Kathy-played by Sheila Kelley-in the allegorical and implicitly Lynch addressing film, MATCHSTICK MEN (2002), and cheekily and implicitly had her marry the implicitly Lynch linked Roy Waller-played by Nicolas Cage-at the end of that film. Encouraging Bigelow to return to Nova Scotia where she made THE WEIGHT OF WATER and focus on Soviet submariners rather than Norwegian immigrants as she sailed boldly into the brave new millennium of film art with her most moving, fearless, CGI enhanced, relentless and commanding allegorical indie docufeature artbuster to date, K19: THE WIDOWMAKER (2002).
Curiously, an opening title proclaiming K19: THE WIDOWMAKER a Kathryn Bigelow film was not seen at the beginning of the film, no doubt in deference to the moving real life nightmare that inspired the film. A film that began with Captain Mikhail Polenin-played by Liam Neeson-charging through the crowded and labyrinthine hallways of the new Soviet nuclear submarine, K19, as it lay in drydock finishing completion and leading his crew through a nuclear missile launch drill that failed. Significantly, this full throttle and dramatic beginning evoked the allegorical Kubrick films, PATHS OF GLORY (1957) and DR. STRANGELOVE, OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (1964), implicitly linking Capt. Polenin to Kubrick. The failure of Capt. Polenin and his crew to carry out the test led to Moscow sending out Capt. Alexei Vostrikov-played by Harrison Ford-to be sent to command the K19. Given that Capt. Vostrikov was linked to DUNE and the allegorical and implicitly Cronenberg and Sir Scott addressing Lynch moving painting, THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980), the implication was that Vostrikov was linked to Lynch.
As the CGI realized pipe rupture that almost led to the blockbuster meltdown of the nuclear reactor led to a determined and CGI free effort by the crew directed by Capt. Vostrikov and Capt. Polenin to weld the pipe, cool the reactor and save the submarine, Bigelow implied her belief that CGI enhancement would simply create blockbuster bombs if a film lacked the vital humanity, the intelligent scripts and the able directors needed to inspire actors and all other members of a work of film art to rise to the determined effort needed to create a work of film art. However, given that this determined effort failed and Capt. Vostrikov eventually gave Capt. Polenin and the rest of the crew the order to abandon the sub and resign themselves to rescue by an American destroyer, Bigelow also implied that by sticking determinedly to CGI free film art, Kubrick and Lynch had failed to successfully cope with and make the transition into the new era of CGI enhanced film art.
At any rate, K19: THE WIDOWMAKER constantly evoked the equally embattled Second World War German submarine crew of the presciently twilit and allegorical Wolfgang Petersen film, DAS BOOT (1982). This linked K19: THE WIDOWMAKER to the twilit and disastrous year of 1982, a link reaffirmed by the presence of Ford as Capt. Vostrikov, as Ford played replicant hunter Rick Deckard in BLADE RUNNER. Thus, this dual link to 1982 also implied that K19: THE WIDOWMAKER was a twentieth anniversary meditation on the TZ disaster, the dread allegorical Zone Wars and the CGI that had been feverishly developed in part in order to use realistic post-production CGI visual effects in order to avoid dangerous on set special effects like those that led to the TZ disaster in general as well as an implicit reflection on the film art of Kubrick and Lynch in particular.
For their part, the Wachowski Sisters again implicitly linked Bigelow to Trinity-played again by Moss-in their trimatic, twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced films, THE MATRIX RELOADED (2003) and THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS (2003), and had Trinity do her best to prevent the CGI enhanced blockbuster machines from destroying the last remnants of humanity on Earth-and in film art. As for Mark S. Johnson and the Marvel Bullpen, they implicitly linked the fearless Bigelow to equally fearless martial arts warrioress and super assassin, Elektra Natchios-created by Frank Miller for Marvel Comics, and played by Jennifer Garner-in the allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Richard Kelly roasting super satirical film, DAREDEVIL (2003). A film and a warrioress that must have also impressed Rob Bowman, as he also implicitly linked Bigelow to Elektra-played again by Garner-in his allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical film, ELEKTRA (2005).
‘Legend tells of a unique warrior…
This warrior is a woman.’
Indeed, in a black t-shirt and tight blue jeans, with her long auburn hair tied back in a pigtail and her hands on her hips, Elektra looked like Bigelow’s twin sister-and was just as comfortable with violence. Finally, Bigelow was allowed to be both a woman and a warrior, unlike in THE CROW-though Elektra was linked to the Crow as she too had died in an accident but been returned to life by her blind and implicitly Cameron linked ‘kima gun’ martial arts mentor, played by Terence Stamp, a return to life that probably symbolized the help Cameron gave Bigelow on POINT BREAK. The CGI crow created by the implicitly Spielberg linked and Evil Tatoo-played by Chris Ackerman-whose eyes Tatoo could see with as he tracked down Elektra reaffirmed the link to THE CROW, reminding us that the Crow could also see through the eyes of his faithful crow companion who also flew around tracking down the killers of Shelly. The resemblance of Natassia Malthe’s Evil Typhoid to the implicitly Bigelow linked Ellen Aim of STREETS OF FIRE also reaffirmed the implicit interest in Bigelow in ELEKTRA. Terry Gilliam was also implicitly impressed with Bigelow, for that same year he implicitly linked her to the fittingly fearless trapper, Angelika Krauss-played by Lena Headey-in the twilit and CGI enhanced allegorical animaction film, THE BROTHERS GRIMM (2005).
As for Bigelow, she implicitly wrapped up her Lynch Trilogy in winning style and returned to the neo-Western spirit of her early films when she teamed up again with Fiennes and Sam Spruell-who resembled Lynch and had played a Soviet submariner in K19: THE WIDOWMAKER-and exchanged Soviet submariners in ineffectual radiation suits for American soldiers in equally ineffectual bomb disposal suits in her next fearless, original, CGI enhanced and implicitly Lynch roasting allegorical indie docufeature artbuster, THE HURT LOCKER (2008).
‘Want a cigarette?’
Indeed, the film began with jumpy and twitchy digicam footage from a rolling bomb disposal bot checking out a suspicious object on a street during the rotation of Bravo Company in Iraq, recalling the similar jumpy and twitchy digicam street footage that began the allegorical Lynch moving painting, INLAND EMPIRE (2006), implicitly affirming from the outset that Bigelow was addressing Lynch again in THE HURT LOCKER. Indeed, Sergeant William James-played by Jeremy Renner-affirmed Bigelow’s implicit Lynch addressing intent, for the ultra indie, unpredictable, iconoclastic, hands on, cool, calm and cigarette and heavy metal loving bomb disposal defuslinger on his first tour with Bravo Company in Iraq evoked the equally ultra indie, unpredictable, iconoclastic, hands on cigarette and heavy metal loving and blockbuster bomb experienced Lynch throughout THE HURT LOCKER.
Indeed, the desert locations and the bomb disposal suit James wore affirmed the film’s implicit interest in Lynch, for the locations evoked the desert world of Arrakis and the suit evoked the battle suits of the Sardaukar, the Imperial terror troops, in DUNE. The sight of James managing to survive every potentially blockbuster bomb defusing fiasco he had thrown at him in the Iraqi streets in one defuslinging duel after another and living to defuse another day also affirmed the film’s implicit interest in Lynch, reminding us that the quirky Boy Scout from Arrakis somehow managed to survive every blockbuster bomb he released on the Temple Theatre-particularly DUNE and TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME. Last but not least, the unfortunate Iraqi civilian forced to become a suicide bomber who was the last major defuslinging dilemma of the first Iraqi tour of Sgt. James reaffirmed the implicit Lynch addressing intent of THE HURT LOCKER. For this Black Suit Man-played by Suhail al-Dabbach-resembled the implicitly Kubrick linked Wicked Phantom-played by Krzyztof Majchrzak whose insidious machinations infected the twilit and allegorical Lynch moving painting, INLAND EMPIRE (2006).
Significantly, despite failing to successfully defuse the padlocked suicide bomb vest on the Black Suit Man and being caught in the explosion of the vest as he ran away, Sgt. James managed to avoid dying in the end unlike his possibly Sir Scott linked predecessor-played by Guy Pearce-killed in the explosion that kicked off the film and unlike previous implicitly embodied incarnations of Lynch in Bigelow films like Bodhi and Janes. Curiously, the sight of James eventually rousing himself and picking himself up also reminded us that the implicitly Lynch linked Fred came back to life after being shot down at the end of SUBWAY, Besson’s implicit way of hoping that Lynch would also come back to life with a better film after being gunned down the year before by the failure of DUNE. Heck, Bigelow even allowed James to outlast the implicitly Lucas linked British mercenary leader-played by Fiennes-and Brian Geraghty’s implicitly Spielberg linked Specialist Owen Eldridge, who was knocked out of the Zone Wars after being ‘accidentally’ shot by James. Thus, it was fitting that the title of THE HURT LOCKER evoked the surname of William Hurt, for he played Ned Racine-a name that was almost an anagram of ERASERHEAD-one of the first cinematic characters implicitly linked to Lynch in the allegorical Lawrence Kasdan film, BODY HEAT (1981).
This implied a slight change of heart on the part of Bigelow and a grudging, ironic and only slightly sarcastic nod from one painter turned film artist to another for the zany resilience of Lynch, and a hope that his dreamy and surreal moving paintings would also outlast the films of Kubrick, Lucas and Spielberg in the long run. An implicit change of heart in a high calibre film that the august Academy implicitly agreed with, for its members awarded Bigelow six Oscars for THE HURT LOCKER for Best Director, Best Editing, Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing, allowing Bigelow to become the first of many female film artists to win the Best Director and Best Film Oscars. The Best Director and Best Film Oscars also allowed Bigelow to fulfill her implicit goal of beating Kubrick at his own artbuster game, as Kubrick never won either Oscar.
For his part, Christopher Nolan implicitly linked Bigelow to Heath Ledger’s exuberantly violent Joker in his twilit and allegorical film, THE DARK KNIGHT (2008), and affirmed that implication by the Joker’s resemblance to the Crow and by the film’s allusions to POINT BREAK and THE CROW. Somehow fittingly, given the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars, Cameron implicitly linked Bigelow to the fearless and all CGI Nav’i warrioress, Neytiri te Ckaha Mo’at’ite-played by Zoe Saldana-in his twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Zonebuster, AVATAR (2009). Disney and Marvel agreed, implicitly linking Bigelow to the fittingly fearless, indomitable and Elektra evoking Asgardian warrioress, Sif-created by Smilin’ Stan Lee and Jolly Jack Kirby for Marvel Comics,and played by Jamie Alexander-in the allegorical and CGI enhanced Kenneth Branagh super satirical film, THOR (2011). Cronenberg begged to differ that year and implied that he was puzzled by Bigelow and her fondness for violence, for he implicitly linked her to the sadomasochistic patient/analyst Sabina Spielrein-played by Keira Knightley-in his twilit and slightly CGI enhanced allegorical film, A DANGEROUS METHOD (2011).
At any rate, no doubt buoyed by those six Oscars for THE HURT LOCKER that validated and strengthened the persistence of her fearless allegorical vision, Bigelow teamed up again with THE HURT LOCKER writer and co-producer Mark Boal and returned to the embattled Middle East to complete her War Is Film Trilogy-or was that the Film Is War Trilogy?-and to implicitly roast Landis again in her next fearless, original, violent, CGI enhanced, neo-Western and allegorical indie docufeature artbuster, ZERO DARK THIRTY (2012).
‘Well, you certainly have a flair for it.’
Not surprisingly, there was no title at the beginning of the film proclaiming that it was a Kathryn Bigelow film, as at the beginning of K19: THE WIDOWMAKER. This was again no doubt in deference to the serious nature of the film. A serious nature affirmed by the sound of real and moving recordings of the cell phone voices of passengers of the hijacked 911 planes and of employees trapped in the burning towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 that played over a black screen at the beginning of ZERO DARK THIRTY which affirmed the docufeature style of the film, and recalled the equally horrific beginnings of THE WEIGHT OF WATER and THE HURT LOCKER. Curiously, as sounds of voices or music playing over a black screen at the beginning of a film was also a famous characteristic of the allegorical films of Spielberg, including DUEL (1971) and JURASSIC PARK (1993), Bigelow signalled at the start of ZERO DARK THIRTY that she was sending a message to Spielberg, perhaps in response to the twilit and allegorical film, LINCOLN (2011), which had implicitly linked Landis to President Abraham Lincoln-played by Daniel D. Lewis. Indeed, when the desperate hunt for Osama Bin Landen-played by Ricky Sekhon-finally led to Bin Laden being tracked down and killed by a US Cavalry evoking Navy SEAL team at the end of the film, it was noticeable that Bin Laden resembled Landis more than he did Spielberg, implying that Bigelow had not thought too much of the allegorical implications of LINCOLN.
Significantly, the hunt for Bin Laden was led by a smart and sensitive but strong and steely CIA spyslinger with no name who was simply referred to as ‘Maya’-Sanskrit for ‘illusion’, and played by Jessica Chastain-who was as determined and indefatigable as NYPD Officer Turner in BLUE STEEL and FBI Special Agent Utah in POINT BREAK. Curiously, like Officer Turner, Maya resembled and was implicitly linked to a Canadian film artist throughout the film, in this case Polley. The sight of Maya dressed up in disguises including head scarves to protect her identity when she questioned Al-Queda and Taliban detainees affirmed Maya’s implicit link to Polley, reminding us that Polley was an accomplished actor before she became a film art director and that she wore head scarves in her role as Maren Hontvedt in THE WEIGHT OF WATER.
The resemblance of CIA colleagues Dan and Jessica-played by Jason Clark and Jennifer Ehle, respectively-to Canadian film and telefilm actors Colm Feore and Mary Walsh, reaffirmed Maya’s implicit link to Canada. The resemblance of a CIA director-played by James Gandolfini-to Akroyd; of another director, Joseph Bradley-played by Kyle Chandler-to then Prime Minister Stephen Harper; of a national security advisor-played by Stephen Dillane-to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau; and a deputy national security advisor-played by John Schwab-to Prime Minister William King also reaffirmed the implicit link of Maya to Canada and its film artists. The resemblance of one of member of the SEAL team to Cameron and another to Canadian golfer Mike Weir also affirmed the film’s implicit interest in Canada and its film artists. The fact that Justin-played by Chris Pratt-was the name of another SEAL and that he had big plans for his life after the raid was also significant, anticipating the decision of Justin Trudeau to run for head of the Liberal Party and for the position of Prime Minister of Canada after the release of ZERO DARK THIRTY in 2012. An implicit interest in Justin Trudeau reaffirmed by Maya’s fellow CIA Agent, Larry-played by Edgar Ramirez-as he resembled JT. Thus, with Maya leading the successful hunt for and assassination of the implicitly Landis linked Bin Laden, Bigelow implied her hope that Polley had the stuff to end the dread allegorical Zone Wars with her film art and kick off a daylit new film art era.
For his part, perhaps impressed by that six Oscar haul for THE HURT LOCKER and the Best Sound Editing Oscar for ZERO DARK THIRTY, Sir Peter Jackson implicitly linked Bigelow to the impetuous and violent King of the Mirkwood Elves, Thranduil-played by Lee Pace-throughout his epic and allegorical THE HOBBIT trilogy (2012-14), making for yet another male film artist flummoxed by Bigelow and trying to explain her away as being really a man disguised as a woman-haw! Shane Black also implicitly linked Bigelow to biology wiz Maya Hansen in his allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Jason Reitman roasting super satirical film, IRON MAN 3 (2013). As for Bigelow, she implied an interest in my Zonebusting website and myself when she returned to the Temple Theatre as executive producer of the allegorical Matthew Heineman documentary film, CARTEL LAND (2015).
‘I believe what I’m doing is Good,
and I believe what I’m standing up against
Significantly, CARTEL LAND was an implicitly classic case of a shrewd film artist noticing that real life people and situations could be used to convey an allegorical point in a documentary film as in a feature film. In this case, Heineman implicitly noticed that the righteously furious uprising by the citizens of Michoacan state in south-central Mexicio that led them to form a spontaneous citizen’s defense group-Las Autodefensas-to beat up, expel or kill the members of a violent drug cartel, the Templar Knights-Los Templares-that was infecting their state with drugs and violence evoked the equally righteously furious and spontaneous audience uprising that swept Lucas and his Jedi Knights from their pre-eminence in the Temple Theatre after 1982-83 Lucas made the mistake to sympathize and work with Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg after the TZ disaster and to release the STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI disaster the following year. Indeed, the fact that Las Autodefensas uprising was initially led and inspired by the tall, patrician, handsome and grey haired Doctor Jose Manuel Mireles Valverde affirmed the implicit intent of the Hollywood cadenced CARTEL LAND, as ‘El Alzado’-Spanish for ‘The Fighter’-evoked and resembled Cameron, reminding us that Cameron had led the anti-Lucas Forces since the arrival in 1984 of THE TERMINATOR. The presence of the short, heavy set and thickly grey bearded and mustached Estanislao Beltran Torres reaffirmed the implicit intent of CARTEL LAND, as ‘Papa Smurf’ evoked Francis Coppola, the best friend of Lucas, and had a nickname that openly linked him to the blockbuster loot lusting movie and television tie-in merchandise madness that prevailed in the early Eighties prior to the TZ disaster.
The sight of Dr. Mireles languishing behind bars in a prison cell at the end of the film after being arrested by the police for his leadership in the people’s uprising also implicitly sent a message to Cameron to look out, as he could join Lucas on the chopping block if the people ever turned against him. An implicit and imprisoned message that must have been viewed with grim satisfaction by Bigelow. For in his travels across Michoacan state to inspire the people to rise up and kick out Los Templares it was noticeable that the married with children Dr. Mireles fell in love with and flirted openly with a chica bonita, reminding us that it was a relationship that Cameron developed with Linda Hamilton on the set of TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY that led to the divorce of Bigelow and Cameron. An admonitory message was also implicitly sent by Bigelow and Heineman to outraged post-TZ disaster audiences in CARTEL LAND, warning them that they too could succumb to blockbuster lusts like the film artists they railed against. For over the course of the film, we saw and heard the citizens of Michoacan transform from the righteously furious and determined Los Templares terminators of the Citizen’s Defense group, to the officially recognized, pardoned and newly established members of the Federal Government’s Rural Defense Force, to the latest drug cartel in Michoacan. Indeed, the cartel members seen secretly making crystal meth overnight in the desert darkness of Michoacan at the beginning of the film turned out not to be members of Los Templares, but rogue Rural Defense Force members when the film artists returned to that sequence at the end of the film, . Nascent cartel members of Las Fuerzas who were also implicitly linked to North American film artists, as the official Rural Defence Force baseball hats given them by Los Federales sported the flags of Canada, Mexico and the United States.
Significantly, the sequences in outraged and determined Michoacan state were intercut with sequences set along the rural and unpopulated Arizona-Mexico border. These sequences featured an obdurate, determined, self-appointed, lean, mean, gaunt and grizzled lone warrior named Tim ‘Nailer’ Foley who voluntarily patrolled the lonesome hills and valleys along the ambiguous border zone between the U.S. and Mexico in his desert combat fatigues and with his trusty AK-47 and his black lab at his heels in a righteously furious attempt to detect and stop the insidious infiltration of the U.S. by the Mexican drug cartels. Intriguingly, these border patrol sequences evoked the even more obdurate, determined, self-appointed, lean, mean, gaunt and grisly lone film scholar known to some as the Gardevil, and his own voluntary patrol of the ambiguous Twilight Zone between truth and lies in the fiction and film art of the dread allegorical Zone Wars in an equally righteous attempt to stop the equally insidious infiltration of the Temple Theatre by twilit blockbuster beasts spawned by the Hollywood studios.
Indeed, the resemblance of ‘Nailer’ Foley to Henriksen, and the fact that his surname evoked J.D. Foley, the sound man who in the late 1920s figured out how to synch everday sounds like footsteps and opening and closing doors to film art by pragmatically screening a new film and making and recording these sounds as they happened on screen so as to help Universal Studios make the transition into the age of the talkies, creating a new field of artistry in the world of film art that is called Foley Artist in his honour to this day, reaffirmed the link of Nailer to film art and the implicit Gardevil addressing intent of the border patrol sequences of CARTEL LAND.
Significantly, this implicit interest in the poor ol’ Gardevil and allegorical documentary film art returned when Bigelow travelled from Michoacan to Michigan and teamed up again with writer and co-producer Boal, Megan Ellison-ZERO DARK THIRTY co-producer-William Goldenberg-co-editor of ZERO DARK THIRTY-Jeremy Hindle-production designer of ZERO DARK THIRTY-Anthony Mackie-who played Sergeant J.T. Sanborn in THE HURT LOCKER-Paul N.J. Ottosson-sound designer of ZERO DARK THIRTY-and Greg Shapiro and Colin Wilson-co-executive producers of ZERO DARK THIRTY-on her next fearless, original, violent, twilit, tragicomic, CGI enhanced and allegorical docufeature artbuster, DETROIT (2017).
‘You haven’t got everything, if you haven’t got love.’
Significantly, the film began with a prologue composed of a colour and truly moving series of Migration paintings by Jacob Lawrence of the black migration from south to north in search of jobs and civil rights over the course of the Twentieh Century instead of opening titles, including one proclaiming a Kathryn Bigelow film, implying that the lack of the latter was not a gesture of deference but simply a modest new direction for Bigelow. Then the film truly began with a Detroit police raid of an unlicensed after hours club in the black area of Detroit on the fateful and TZ disaster anticipating early morning of July 23, 1967 that irritated disaffected onlookers in the street and led to a riot that caused the streets to be filled with police officers and National Guardsman who evoked the Iraqi police officers and U.S. soldiers who filled the streets of Baghdad in THE HURT LOCKER. Significantly, however, Officer Frank-played by Chris Chalk-the police officer who led the raid, resembled Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) co-director Cameron Bailey, implicitly linking the film to Toronto. Indeed, two of the club patrons arrested in the raid resembled Donovan Bailey and Ben Johnson, affirming the implicit interest in Toronto in DETROIT.
The film then revolved around frustrated Ford assembly line drone and aspiring pop singer, Larry Cleveland Reed-played by Algee Smith-lead crooner of the Dramatics, an a cappella group who evoked the Sorels in STREETS OF FIRE. Curiously, just as the Dramatics were about to follow Martha and the Vandrellas-played by Zurin Villanueva, Anissa Felix and Amber Owens, respectively-onstage for their first live performance at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, the theatre was evacuated and closed due to the riot. Seeking sanctuary in the Algiers Hotel to escape the fiery streets, Reed was soon caught up in the snafu events that led to some of the hotel occupants-including Aubrey Pollard, played by Nathan Davis jr.-to be shot dead by three Detroit police officers, Demens, Flynn and Krauss-played by Jack Reynor, Ben O’Toole and Will Poulter, respectively. Significantly, the name of Aubrey Pollard evoked the names of two teachers I worked with over the years as a Library Technician at Streetsville Secondary School in Mississauga, ON, implicitly linking me to Reed. Indeed, the red and white dress of Karen-played by Kaitlyn Dever-one of the other occupants of the Algiers Hotel who went through the deadly and nightmarish events with Reed, evoked the red and white Maple Leaf flag of Canada yet again in a Bigelow film, affirming the implicit link of Karen, Pollard and Reed to Canada and its film artists and ‘scholars’.
The fact that a security guard named Melvin Dismukes-played by John Boyega-got caught up in the nightmare at the Algiers Hotel with Karen, Pollard, Reed and the rest also affirmed the film’s implicit interest in the poor ol’ Gardevil. For Boyega played Finn in the Disarvelass STAR WARS Trilogy, evoking my interest in Lucas and his film art. The subsequent trial that led to Demens, Dismukes, Flynn and Krauss being found not guilty of murder also affirmed the film’s interest in Greater Toronto Area. For the trial of three white police officers and one black security guard evoked the three white and one black Ghostbusters in the twilit and allegorical Ivan Reitman film, GHOSTBUSTERS (1984), and their subsequent trial in the twilit and allegorical Reitman film, GHOSTBUSTERS 2 (1989).
The sight and sound of Reed being so shattered and disgusted with the nightmarish events at the Algiers Hotel and with the twilit trio of officers being found not guilty at the subsequent trial that he abandoned his pop star dreams and devoted himself instead to a quiet life of gospel singing at a local church also affirmed his implicit link to me, as I abandoned any dreams of becoming a film artist after the TZ disaster and went on to a quiet life as a LibTech. The fact that I was linked forever to July of 1967 due to the fact that I was born in North York, ON, just north of the border from Detroit on July 4, 1967 also reaffirmed the implication that Bigelow was sending a message to me with DETROIT. Thus, Bigelow implicitly sympathized with my quiet life or roasted me for choosing a quiet life instead of a life in film art in DETROIT.
At any rate, this curious and ugly film often came across as a retrospective of the film art career of Bigelow, as the unrest that broke out in Detroit after police raided an after hours club on July 23, 1967 and that resulted in three deaths evoked the twilit ambience of most of the film art of Bigelow as a result of the three fatalities of the July 23, 1982 TZ disaster; it occurred in the U.S. in the rebel past like THE LOVELESS, a film whose bikers laconically insisted that they were from Detroit; had a period Motown soundtrack that evoked the rockin’ soundtracks of POINT BREAK, STRANGE DAYS, STREETS OF FIRE and THE CROW; saw rioters battle the police and national guard in the streets of fire as in STRANGE DAYS; had psychotic Detroit police officers who evoked the equally psychotic Engelman and Steckler of STRANGE DAYS; saw young American men in uniform face off against a much larger hostile city population as in THE HURT LOCKER; and saw the torture of suspects as in ZERO DARK THIRTY.
For her part, Coppola implicitly roasted Bigelow and Burton in the forms of Amelia ‘Amy’ Dabney and Union Army Corporal John Patrick McBurney-played by Oona Lawrence and Colin Farrell, respectively-in implicitly catty retaliation for Bigelow being linked to Miss Peregrine in her twilit and allegorical film, THE BEGUILED (2017). As for the haiku loving Taika Waititi, an implicit interest in Bigelow and the poor ol’ Gardevil returned in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Taika Waititi super satirical film, THOR: RAGNORAK (2017).
‘Darling, you have no idea what’s possible.’
Indeed, Hela, the bewitching and Vampira evoking goddess of Death-created by Kirby and Lee for Marvel Comics, and played by Cate Blanchett-who overwhelmed the hapless defenders of Asgard with carefree abandon and took over the implicitly Hollywood linked city with familiar confidence and fearlessness to become its new Queen after she was released from imprisonment by the death of the implicitly Kubrick linked Odin-played by Sir Anthony Hopkins-was implicitly linked throughout the film to the reigning Oscar winning Queen of Hollywood and her equally violent and death dealing film art-exceptional film art that, alas, usually died in the Temple Theatre and at the box office-particularly NEAR DARK. This deadly implication was affirmed by the sight and sound of Hela crushing Mjolnir, the mighty and phallic hammer of her implicitly Cameron linked younger brother, Thor-played by Chris Hemsworth-with an ironically cool and casual insouciance, reminding us that Bigelow took the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars from Cameron and his twilit and allegorical Zonebusting epic, AVATAR (2009), in 2009. Indeed, the allusion Thor made to POINT BREAK at one point openly affirmed the film’s implicit interest in Bigelow, Cameron and their film art.
Significantly, Hela even had the cool courage to take on the huge, cranky, all CGI and devilish Surtur-voiced by the John Vernon evoking Brown, who also openly linked the film to Bigelow by way of his role as Det. Mann in BLUE STEEL-when he was resurrected by Tom Hiddleston’s implicitly Spielberg linked Loki, in the end. Curiously, Surtur was a nasty and fiery character whose eagerness to destroy the old Asgardian order and start a new era evoked the equally subtle and bull-in-a-China-shoppe Zonebusting antics of the poor ol’ Gardevil, implying that a part of that sub-genre of the dread Zone Wars wryly referred to as ‘Cinema Garite’ was THOR: RAGNORAK. Indeed, to implicitly affirm that possibility, Gardevil and Ragnorak were both eight letter three syllable words with three letters for both the first and second syllables and two letters for the third syllable.
While financially understandable, given that most of her films had died at the box office, the link of Bigelow to Hela was ironic given that Disney, the studio that released the film, allowed Kennedy to remain as head of Lucasfilm/ILM when they were purchased from Lucas, despite being one of the four people most responsible for the three deaths in the TZ disaster and a woman who had spent her life producing and promoting beastly blockbuster filmmercials for movie tie-in merchandise rather than true film art for film art’s sake like Bigelow, making Kennedy the true Wicked Goddess of Death. Indeed, Bigelow had never had any fatalities on her action packed and stunt filled sets, affirming her commitment to life rather than death. For his part, Gary Ross solemnly and implicitly linked Bigs to Deborah ‘Debbie’ Ocean-played by Sandra Bullock-the leader of an all female gang of robbers in the allegorical film, OCEAN’S 8 (2018). However, beastly blockbuster loot lusting criminal was also not Bigelow as not abandoned film art for film art’s sake no matter how much criticism was hurled at her had she, affirming that a Good Goddess of Life who refused to be defined and limited by her sex and chose instead to boldly go where no female or male film artist had gone before and shy and sensitive but commanding and steel-eyed neo-Western artbusting filmslinger she was, and one best known as…the Fearless.
Gibson, William. Burning Chrome. New York: Eos, 2003.
-----. Neuromancer. New York: Ace Books, 1984.
Hampton, Henry and Steve Fayer. Voices Of Freedom: an oral
history of the civil rights movement from the 1950s
through the 1980s. New York: Bantam Books, 1990.
Keough, Peter, ed. Kathryn Bigelow: interviews. Jackson, MI:
University Press of Mississippi, 2013.
Shreve, Anita. The Weight Of Water. Boston: Back Bay Books,