the triumph of art over blockbuster beast
in the twilit and allegorical film art
of Kathryn Bigelow
by Gary W. Wright
Significantly, Kathryn Ann Bigelow, like James Cameron, began her film art career in 1982, perhaps the most traumatic year in the history of world cinema. For 1982 was the year that a helicopter crash killed illegally obtained and used child extras Renee Chen and Myca Le and actor/director/writer Vic Morrow in the early morning hours of July 23, 1982 on the George Folsey produced John Landis set of the Frank Marshall executive produced and Kathleen Kennedy associate produced allegorical Landis, Joe Dante, George Miller and Steven Spielberg film, TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1983). As such, like Cameron, Bigelow was not a part of the golden, Skyrocking and New Hollywood dominated years that preceded 1982, and knew nothing but the twilit and dread allegorical Zone Wars that erupted after the TZ disaster. A twilit, combative, despondent, disaffected and embittered film era that was noticeably anticipated by her first allegorical and prescient film, THE LOVELESS (1982), co-directed and co-written with Lafayette ‘Monty’ Montgomery.
‘We’re going nowhere-fast!’
The first thing that always struck one when watching THE LOVELESS was how confident the film was given that it was being created by two first time film artists. Indeed, from the first silent crane shot of Willem Dafoe’s implicitly Sir Ridley Scott linked biker, Vance, putting on his black sunglasses, getting on and starting his motorcycle and driving away from a piss stop and back onto the highway, and then disappearing down the highway and towards a date with destiny at a truck stop town in Georgia, all in one unedited tracking shot, THE LOVELESS oozed confidence like the hair oil the film’s bikers used to comb back their hair. The second thing that struck one about the film was how fearlessly and uncompromisingly artistic the film was, with each frame like a photo from an artsy photographer or like a painting, the latter somehow fitting given that Bigelow, like Sir Scott and David Lynch, was coming to film art from a background in painting. The third thing that struck one about THE LOVELESS was that it did not shy away from crude behaviour and language, nudity, sex and violence, rougher aspects of life usually avoided by women in their lives and art. Significantly, this unusual confidence, fearlessness and embrace of the rough side of life would remain the three main characteristics of the film art of Bigelow. Thus, it was ironic that the equally confident, fearless and rough Lynch was not just implicitly roasted in the form of J. Don Ferguson’s biker hating Tarver, but gunned down by his righteously furious and Carrie Fisher resembling daughter, Telena-played by the fittingly named Marin Kanter-in the end, in the first implicit roast of Lynch in a Bigelow film. 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. Lynch implicitly believed so, as the sultry rebel rocker look of THE LOVELESS returned in such allegorical fare as the TWIN PEAKS telefilm series (1990-91)-with Dana Ashbrook’s Bobby Briggs implicitly linked to Bigelow-and the Ozian themed film, WILD AT HEART (1990)-with Montgomery even returning as a co-producer, and Defoe as the implicitly Bigelow linked Bobby Peru in that film. A curious implicit link of Bigelow to male characters rather than female on the part of Lynch, incidentally, implying that she and her film art were masculine. However, female characters such as Sportster Debbie and Augusta, the diner waitress-played by Elizabeth Gans-were as strong and femininely assertive as the men were strong and masculinely assertive, suggesting sexual harmony prevailed in the inner world and film art of Bigelow.
Significantly, the film’s commitment to 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 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 took their frustration out on Folsey, Kennedy, Landis, Marshall and Spielberg-and George Lucas too, after his failure to bring the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy to a satisfying trimax as executive producer of the allegorical, implicitly Spielberg roasting and Richard Marquand film, STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983) and for reaching to and working with Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg on the allegorical film, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984)-by avoiding their film art and turning to more serious and artistic film artists like Bigelow, Lynch, Luc Besson, Alex Cox, David Cronenberg and Jim Jarmusch in revenge. Indeed, Bigelow and Montgomery anticipated that audiences would turn away from Lucas, particularly after he failed to deliver the goods with STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI the following year. For after gunning down Tarver in a motel roadhouse, the Fisher resembling and sized Telena killed herself with the same gun, in the end.
In fact, fed up with their new blockbuster mania, less imaginative and original film art and pompous behaviour, the film artists of New Hollywood were already being treated with fear and loathing by audiences before the TZ disaster, the same fear and loathing heaped on Vance and his fellow bikers-Robert Gordon’s implicitly Francis Coppola linked Davis, Phillip Kimbrough’s implicitly Lucas linked Hurley, Lawrence Matarese’s implicitly Spielberg linked LaVille, Danny Rosen’s implicitly Dante linked Ricky, and Tina L’Hotsky’s good time girl Sportster Debbie-by Tarver and the rest of the citizens of the small Georgia truck stop town before the murder of Tarver. But it was the TZ disaster that really drove the nail into the coffin of New Hollywood, an era ending fiasco anticipated by Vance in a moody voice-over when he 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.’ A prescient anticipation increased by the presence of John King’s Landis resembling biker rebel wannabe John, one of the citizens in town, whose wannabe status reminded us that Landis also wanted to be seen as a major film artist at the time, but never made it into their ranks. Thus, THE LOVELESS was in tune with the twilit and disastrous year of 1982, and with outraged global audiences. A prescience reaffirmed at the end of the film, for the sight and sound of the bikers roaring out of that small Georgia truck stop town and off into the night after the deaths of Tarver and Telena anticipated audiences and film artists of the day heading off into the Twilight Zone after the TZ disaster. A prescient confidence not missed by Walter Hill, for he blasted 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.’
Indeed, the sight and sound of the singer with the Hollywood and Telena cadenced name, Ellen Aim-played by Diane Lane-singing the desperately upbeat Jim Steinman tune, ‘Nowhere Fast’-with her band, the Attackers-actually, the sung was performed by Fire Inc.-at the Diamond at the beginning of the film immediately and implicitly affirmed that Hill was addressing Bigelow and THE LOVELESS in STREETS OF FIRE. For the implicitly Marcia Lucas linked Aim and the Attackers-played by Angelo, William Beard II, Stuart Kimball and John Ryder, respectively-came across as a fresh faced and clean cut version of Sportster Debbie and the bikers of THE LOVELESS. Indeed, the exuberantly upbeat ‘Nowhere Fast’ was an open reply to Vance’s furiously despondent comment that he and the rest of the bikers were ‘…going nowhere-fast!’ spat out at the end of THE LOVELESS. An evocation of Vance that soon materialized in Defoe when he showed up at the Diamond as the implicitly Montgomery linked Raven Shaddock, leader of the blockbuster Bombers biker gang-how ironic that Montgomery was implicitly seen as more of a threat than Bigelow, given that it was Bigelow who would continue on as a film artist-with his second-in-command, the implicitly Bigelow linked ‘Germaine’ Greer-played by Lee Ving-and the rest of the Bombers. Soon Shaddock, Greer and the blockbuster Bombers stormed the stage of the Diamond, beat up the Attackers and various audience members-including Bill Paxton’s irrepressible barkeep, Clyde-and kidnapped Aim, perhaps Hill’s way of saying that he felt that the fearless, artistic and anti-commercial spirit that Bigelow and Montgomery had displayed in THE LOVELESS was a threat to mainstream Hollywood film art. A fearless, artistic and anti-commercial spirit that Hill implicitly felt had to be defeated, given that Aim was soon rescued by the mysterious, tough and independent ex-soldier, McCoy-played by Amy Madigan-and by the indomitable Tom Cody, also an ex-soldier-played by Michael Pare, whose address at 838 Hurley Street evoked the implicitly Lucas linked biker Hurley in THE LOVELESS, affirming the implicit interest in that film and in Lucas in STREETS OF FIRE-given that Shaddock was beaten senseless by Cody in their showdown at the end of the film.
Signficantly, Cody was implicitly linked to Lucas, given 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 music evoked the rockin’ roll and wistful Fifties nostalgia of AMERICAN GRAFITTI as much as it did THE LOVELESS; and that the determined rescue of Aim evoked the equally determined rescue of Fisher’s Princes Leia Organna in the allegorical Lucas film, STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE (1977). Cody’s link to Lucas was no doubt due to the fact that Bigelow and Montgomery implicitly killed off the Fisher evoking Telena-evoked by Marine Jahan’s stripper at Torchies, a biker’s bar in STREETS OF FIRE-at the end of THE LOVELESS. An ironic implication, indeed, given that Lucas was synonymous with blockbuster film as a result of the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy by this time and was not in a position to rescue anybody. Indeed, the sight of Cody fading off alone into the night after rescuing ex-girlfriend Aim, in the end, summed up the fate of Lucas, for he too faded away alone that year after the irreparable harm done to his reputation by the STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI disaster, the divorce from his wife Marcia soon after, and by reaching out to protect and work with Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg on the infuriatingly dumb film, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM-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!
Thus, Bigelow and Montgomery must have been reassured by the fact that STREETS OF FIRE was rejected by audiences, perhaps because of Cody’s link to Lucas, perhaps because the ‘rock and roll fable’ came across more as a slick, superficial and uber-commercial two hour music video than a serious work of film art-indeed, there even was a music video of the Stevie Nicks penned and Laurie Sargent sung, ‘Sorcerer’, embedded in the film that increased that sense that the film was a music video rather than a serious work of film art. This rejection no doubt gave Bigelow the confidence to go solo on her next film. It was also fitting to see Paxton as the irrepressible barkeep Clyde in STREETS OF FIRE, given that Paxton joined her when she returned with her next fearless, confident, uncompromisingly artistic, allegorical, Ozian themed and truly twilit film, NEAR DARK (1987), co-written and co-produced with Eric Red.
‘Could I’ve a bite?’
Humourously, NEAR DARK began with a close-up of a mosquito that looked like an ironically tiny version of the huge, nasty and implicitly Wicked Witch of the West linked alien Queen Mother in the twilit, righteously furious and allegorical Cameron film, ALIENS (1986), greedily sucking blood from someone’s hand or forearm. However, before the tiny Queen could enjoy its drink, a hand casually and unceremoniously squashed it, implying that Cameron and ALIENS and any other pests who created commercial film art rather than film art for film art’s sake were going to be gleefully roasted by Bigelow and Red in NEAR DARK. The hand turned out to belong to Adrian Pasdar’s naïve and innocent but good, wholesome and implicitly Scarecrow linked country boy, Caleb Colton. Curiously, while the names of Caleb Colton evoked James Cameron and Tom Cody in STREETS OF FIRE, he looked a bit like Bigelow and also like Christophe Lambert’s implicitly Lynch linked Fred in the allegorical and implicitly Lynch supporting Luc Besson film, SUBWAY (1985)-in fact, NEAR DARK was often shot in the same blue light as SUBWAY. This made it unclear whether Colton symbolized Besson, Bigelow, Cameron or Lynch, whose twilit and allegorical films, DUNE (1984), and BLUE VELVET (1986), were alluded to in NEAR DARK. What was clear was that soon after squashing that pesky and alienated tiny Queen, the ambiguous Colton drove off in his battered pick-up truck into the gathering twilight near dark, a fateful trip into the Twilight Zone that forewarned disaster for the likeable lunk in the dread allegorical Zone War era.Sure enough, Colton soon met, was bewitched and bitten by Jenny Wright’s beautiful blonde and implicitly Glinda linked vampiress, Mae-who looked and dressed like a more beautiful McCoy in STREETS OF FIRE, and like a blonde version of Isabelle Adjani’s implicitly Bigelow linked Helena, with her Telena evoking name, in SUBWAY. This unexpected bite infected Colton with vampirism like a vampirically sexual transmitted disease (VSTD). As beautiful and bewitching blondes often symbolized Hollywood in film art, the implication was that Mae’s bite had symbolically infected Colton with blockbuster Hollywood disease as much as VSTD. A blockbuster Hollywood disease that evoked Cameron, for when Mae’s four gleefully demented outlaw vampire friends showed up-Jesse Hooker, Diamondback-whose name evoked the Diamond club in STREETS OF FIRE-Severen and Homer, played by Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, Bill Paxton and Joshua Miller, respectively-it was noticeable that three were played by actors who had appeared in the film art of Cameron. Indeed, Henriksen had played police chief Steve Kimbrough in the allegorical Cameron film, PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING (1982); Henriksen and Paxton had played LAPD Detective Hal Vucovich and a punk, respectively, in the twilit, righteously furious and allegorical Cameron film, THE TERMINATOR (1984); and Goldstein, Henriksen and Paxton had played Colonial Marine Vasquez, Biship the android and Colonial Marine Hudson in the even more twilit, righteously furious, Dante blasting and allegorical film, ALIENS (1986).
Curiously, however, instead of being implicitly linked to Cameron and his film art, Diamondback, Homer, Hooker and Severen appeared to be implicitly linked to Kennedy, Dante, Marshall and Spielberg in NEAR DARK, no doubt due to the dismal twilit and allegorical Dante film, GREMLINS (1984), which had been executive produced by Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg. Indeed, Diamondback’s resemblance to Stripe, the head gremlin in GREMLINS, and the demented mayhem that the outlaw vampires wreaked in a bar midway through the film evoked the demented mayhem the gremlins wreaked in a bar in the town of Kington Falls, USA, affirmed the implicit link of Diamondback, Homer, Hooker and Severen to Kennedy, Dante, Marshall and Spielberg. During the violent mayhem in the bar, it was also noticeable that Colton knocked out a Cameron resembling bar patron-played by Michael Winley-who was later shot dead by Homer when he regained consciousness. This implied that Colton did not symbolize Cameron, and that Bigelow saw him as a bit player in comparison to Dante, Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg when NEAR DARK was created in 1986-7-and was also warning Cameron to be ready for an allegorical roast in response to ALIENS, which came the following year in the form of the allegorical and Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg produced Spielberg film, EMPIRE OF THE SUN (1987).
It was also noticeable that after some more violent misadventures with the outlaw vampires, Caleb and Mae managed to escape them and return to the house of his implicitly Great Oz linked father, Doctor Loy Colton, DVM-played by Tim Thomerson-and his implicitly Dorothy linked kid sister, Sarah-played by Marcie Leeds. Here, with the help of Dr. Colton, Caleb and Mae managed to cure their VSTD. Whole, healthy and human again, they joined forces with Dr. Colton and Sarah to face down and exorcise Dante, Kennedy, Marshall, Spielberg and GREMLINS from the Temple Theatre with the help of burning and purifying sunlight-the same purifying and exorcising sunlight that melted Stripe in classic Wicked Witch of the West fashion at the end of GREMLINS. Thus, while it was never quite certain if Colton and Mae symbolized Besson and his film art, Bigelow and her film art-most likely, given the film’s allusions to THE LOVELESS addressing STREETS OF FIRE-or Lynch and his film art, what was implicitly certain was that Bigelow was warning either Besson, Lynch or herself-or all three at the same time-that they had to be careful or they would be infected with blockbuster Hollywood lusts like Dante, Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg, and be trapped undead in the twilight near dark turning out infuriating and TZ disaster themed dreck like GREMLINS…forever-a chilling warning indeed, and one that all other film artists and audiences were wise to heed in 1987. Indeed, the film’s implicit interest in the twilit and disastrous year of 1982 was affirmed by the presence of Henriksen-due to his role in PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING-by the presence of Thomerson-who played Doctor Knute Lanyon in the allegorical and implicitly Landis roasting Jerry Belson film, JEKYLL AND HYDE…TOGETHER AGAIN (1982)-and by the presence of Wright-who played a brash and exuberant teen groupie in the allegorical Alan Parker and Pink Floyd film, PINK FLOYD’S THE WALL (1982). This made for a truly twilit trio of one female and two males linked forever to 1982 appearing in NEAR DARK who evoked the one female and two males killed in the TZ disaster.
Unfortunately, despite its uncompromising artistry, intelligence, creativity, and memorable imagery, audiences, Cameron and other film artists did not heed Bigelow’s message, and remain in the dread Zone Wars we do to this day. However, the film’s implicit Cameron addressing message was not missed by Cameron, who soon met and married Bigelow, in so doing divorcing Gale Anne Hurd, producer of ALIENS, THE TERMINATOR and the twilit and allegorical Cameron film, THE ABYSS (1989). A team-up with the full throttle Cameron that appeared to rev up Bigelow and encourage her to team up again with co-writer Red and make another attempt to break free from the Zone Wars and kick off a whole new era of film art for a whole new decade in her next fearless, confident, uncompromisingly artistic, original, twilit and allegorical film, BLUE STEEL (1990), co-written again with Red.
‘Yeah, I wanted to shoot people.’
Significantly, the sight of Officer 22, Megan Augusta Turner-played by Jamie L. Curtis-being sworn into the ranks of the New York Police Department (NYPD) at the beginning of the film despite failing one of her last tests implied Bigelow’s hope that she too was now a part of the ranks of true feature film artists with the success of NEAR DARK and THE LOVELESS. Indeed, the resemblance of the lean and confident Curtis to the equally lean and confident Bigelow, and the fact that Officer Turner’s first names Megan and Augusta evoked Augusta the diner waitress in THE LOVELESS and Mae the vampires in NEAR DARK implicitly affirmed the link of Turner to Bigelow and her film art and Bigelow’s hope that she was now a full fledged member of the Hollywood Film Artist Department. And a fearless HFAD Officer implicitly eager to finally exorcise Landis from the Temple Theatre with her film art and kick off a new TZ disaster free era of film art at the beginning of the Nineties, given that Officer-and later Detective-Turner spent the film hunting and finally gunning down, in the end, a serial killer-Ron Silver’s Eugene Hunt-who was implicitly linked to Landis given that he resembled and dressed like Landis, and given the film’s allusions to the allegorical Landis film, TRADING PLACES (1983). 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.
Despite the stress of the hunt for Hunt-who Turner had unknowingly struck up a relationship with, yet again making her an unusually masculine but fully heterosexual Bigelow woman-it was fitting that Turner did not leave the NYPD, in the end. For Officer Turner’s commitment to the NYPD implied Officer Bigelow’s commitment to the HFAD, regardless of the stress of being a successful feature film artist. This implicitly firm commitment was also a good rebuttal to Besson, who struck back at NEAR DARK that same year with his allegorical and implicitly Bigelow addressing 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. Fighting words, indeed, encouraging Bigelow to team up again with Tom Sizemore-who played a wool cap wearing robber perhaps linked to Stanley Kubrick in BLUE STEEL-and NEAR DARK editor Howard E. Smith-editor of the fourth Miller episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE-to implicitly take on Lynch in her most macho, hyper-thyroid, fearless, artistic, violent, Ozian themed and allegorical film to date, POINT BREAK (1991), executive produced by Cameron.
‘Big wave riding’s for macho assholes with a death wish.’
Indeed, the film began with 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 sight reminded us of the sandworm riding Fremen of the desert world of Arrakis and the offworld mystic, Maud’dib-played by Kyle MacLachlan-who became their visionary leader in the allegorical and Ozian themed Lynch film, DUNE (1984), immediately affirming that Lynch was the implicit target of Bigelow in POINT BREAK as in THE LOVELESS. This implication that Lynch was the target of POINT BREAK-no doubt for Lynch implicitly roasting Bigelow as Bobby Briggs in TWIN PEAKS and as Bobby Peru in WILD AT HEART-was affirmed by the shots of the young, gung ho, law upholding and implicitly Scarecrow linked FBI Special Agent Johnny Utah-played by Keanu Reeves-acing a shooting test at an outdoor FBI shooting range that were interspersed between the surf shots of the young and lawless Bodhi. For the name of Johnny Utah evoked that of MacLachlan’s Jeffrey Beaumont in the twilit and allegorical Lynch film, BLUE VELVET (1986), while his work as a clean cut and shaved FBI Special Agent evoked that of MacLachlan’s equally clean cut and shaved FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper in TWIN PEAKS.
Significantly, FBI Special Agent Utah’s success at the FBI shooting range reminded us that NYPD officer Turner failed her final test at the beginning of BLUE STEEL. Utah’s success implied that Bigelow was more confident she could succeed as a film artist with BLUE STEEL, NEAR DARK and THE LOVELESS under her belt-indeed, that she had risen to FBI Special Agent status now-and also linked Utah to Turner. Since Turner implicitly symbolized Bigelow in BLUE STEEL, the implication was that Utah symbolized Bigelow in POINT BREAK. Indeed, the fact that John C. McGinley’s implicitly Cameron linked Ben Harp was Utah’s boss back at FBI headquarters in L.A. affirmed that implication, reminding us that as producer of POINT BREAK, Cameron was Bigelow’s boss. Thus, the fact that Harp was just as eager as Utah to track down and arrest Bodhi and his gang of outlaw surfers-outlaw surfers who evoked the outlaw bikers of THE LOVELESS and the outlaw vampires of NEAR DARK, implicitly affirming the link of the new outlaws to film artists ike the previous outlaws-who paid for their outlaw lifestyles by moonlighting as the blockbuster bank robbing Ex-Presidents gang implied that Cameron was as eager to roast Lynch as Bigelow. Indeed, that same year Cameron implicitly linked Lynch to Robert Patrick’s T-1000 Terminator in his allegorical and implicitly Lynch roasting film, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991), implicitly affirming that Cameron had developed a dislike for Lynch, perhaps due to the implicitly Cameron linked character Mr. Reindeer-played by W. Morgan Sheppard-in WILD AT HEART.
Thus, the triumph of Harp and Utah over Bodhi and his gang, in the end, implicitly symbolized the hope of Cameron and Bigelow that they would triumph over and exorcise WILD AT HEART with POINT BREAK and T2. Significantly, this triumph also reaffirmed Bodhi’s implicit link to Lynch, for the sight of Utah allowing Bodhi 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-evoked a Fremen riding a blockbuster sandworm, reminding us that DUNE had been a blockbuster failure for Lynch, as well. Allowing Bigelow and Cameron to save the art of film in general and the film art of Bigelow in particular, implicitly symbolized by Utah’s fittingly feisty, fearless, independent and Dorothy evoking girlfriend, Tyler Ann Endicott-played by Lori Petty. Indeed, the name of Tyler Ann Endicott looked and sounded like Kathryn Ann Bigelow, a link of Endicott to Bigelow reaffirmed by the fact that Tyler’s first name evoked the surname of the implicitly Bigelow linked Turner of BLUE STEEL. Intriguingly, Tyler also evoked and resembled Helena in SUBWAY and Nikita in LA FEMME NIKITA, implying a hoped for triumph over Besson as well with POINT BREAK.
Allusions to BLADE RUNNER, particularly during the shootout with the rival surfer gang and during Utah’s chase through the streets after Bodhi, also implied that Bigelow and Cameron were roasting Sir Scott in the form of the rival gang’s nasty leader, Bunker Weiss-played by Chris Pedersen-in the film, perhaps for implicitly sympathizing with Lynch in the allegorical film, SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME (1987). As POINT BREAK also married blockbuster bank robberies-which linked the film to Earth-a burning gas station-which linked the film to Fire-spectacular high diving-which linked the film to Air, and evoked the free diving of the allegorical Besson film, THE BIG BLUE (1988)-and stellar surfing-which linked the film to Water and completed the film’s elemental and Ozian journey-with the high minded artistry of the previous film art of Bigelow, she made it clear that she would not back down on her artistic principles for the sake of box office success. If Bigelow continued as a film artist at all, given that the ambiguous ending of POINT BREAK-which saw Utah throwing his FBI badge away after the death of Bodhi as he walked off Bell’s Beach-implied that she might indeed leave film art behind as Besson predicted at the end of LA FEMME NIKITA.
In fact, Besson soon blasted Bigelow again in his allegorical film, LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL (1994), by implicitly linking her to an Evil DEA agent named Willy Blood-played by Willy One Blood-in that film. That same year, Bigelow was also 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 implicilty 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 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 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 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 Sizemore and Smith and replied to LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL, THE CROW and the ’92 re-release of BLADE RUNNER with her biggest and most fearless, artistic, quirky, violent and controversial allegorical film to date, STRANGE DAYS (1995), co-written and co-produced by Cameron, now an ex-husband.
‘It’s over, Lenny! It’s over!’
Significantly, the film began in L.A. in the early morning hours of December 30, 1999 with the lovable lunk with the Johnny Utah cadenced name of Lenny Nero-played by Ralph Fiennes-using a wireless Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) headset to playback the recorded experience of one of a twilit trio of young Caucasian male robbers of a Vietnamese restaurant, a callous and violent robbery captured in one long and unedited master shot. Significantly, these three robbers were implicitly linked to film artists again as they evoked the bank robbing surfers of POINT BREAK and the Fire It Up gang in THE CROW-particularly David Packer’s Lane, who evoked Spielberg. However, Nero was outraged that the SQUID recording ended with the robber who was being recorded-played by Ron Young-falling off the roof of the apartment complex housing the ground floor restaurant to his death 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 recording 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 recordings or 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.
Around 4:05 am, Nero dropped by his tiny one-bedroom bachelor pad, just missing a telephone message from a frantic Iris-played by Brigitte Bako. Significantly, Iris evoked the irritating Carol-played by Mackenzie Phillips-in AMERICAN GRAFFITI, lost girl Iris-played by Jody Foster-in TAXI DRIVER and the feisty and fearless Princess Leia Organna-played by Carrie Fisher-in the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy in three more affirmations of the implicit link of Nero to Lucas. She was frantic to reach Nero because she was on the run from two homicidal LAPD officers, Dwayne Engelman and the implicitly Besson linked Burton Steckler-played by William Fichtner and Vincent D’Onofrio, respectively-two Evil and psychotic police officers who were the exact opposite of the bumbling but Good police officers, Cooley and Price-played by Rick Rossovich (who also played Matt in THE TERMINATOR) and Richard Lawson, respectively-in STREETS OF FIRE. In fact, the two psychos recalled Stansfield and his fellow psychotic DEA members in LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL. 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. The rapist/murderer also recorded her rape/murder on SQUID, and sent the black jack SQUID recording to Nero to experience. 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). This link reaffirmed 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 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 Tom 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 wing 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 Lynch linked manager, Philo Gant, in STRANGE DAYS.
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 Cody dropped Aim and turned to the real McCoy at the end of STREETS OF FIRE. 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 strong as Mace appeared in a Bigelow film.
For his part, perhaps impressed by the many allusions to BLADE RUNNER in STRANGE DAYS, Sir Scott implicitly likened Bigelow’s brief relationship with the commanding Cameron and her battle to be accepted by male film artists to the brief time that Demi Moore’s unobtrusively named Navy Intelligence Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil spent in SEAL training with the commanding and implicitly Cameron linked Master Chief John James Urgayle-played by Viggo Mortensen-and her battle to be accepted by the other male SEAL trainees in the allegorical film, G.I. JANE (1997). Besson implicitly thought so, and was also implicitly inspired by the two occasions in G.I. JANE when Lt. O’Neil was compared to Joan of Arc, for he implicitly linked Bigelow and her Zone War battles to the O’Neil and Nikita evoking Joan of Arc-played by Milla Jovovich-and her medieval battles-and affirmed that implicit intent by fusing LA FEMME NIKITA with THE CROW-in the allegorical film, THE MESSENGER (1999).
‘Now, let all those who love me, follow me!’
For THE MESSENGER was another implicit and petulant blast of Bigelow that evoked LA FEMME NIKITA. Indeed, the presence of Tcheky Karyo as the fittingly named Dunois, as he was the brother of John Malkovich’s implicitly DUNE and Lynch linked Charles VII, affirmed the link between the two films, as Karyo had played Bob, Nikita’s mentor at the secret French government agency, in LA FEMME NIKITA. The big difference between the two was that the symbolic Bigelow was burned at the stake for her masculine sins and film artist ambitions, in the end, an ending that implicitly allowed Besson to strike back at Sir Scott for allowing Lt. O’Neil to successfully complete the SEAL training, a feat that no woman has accomplished in reality. Indeed, the opening murderous rape of Joan’s mother, Catherine-played by Framboise Commendy-that was witnessed by the young Joan-played by Jane Valentine-evoked not just the murderous rape of Webster by the Fire It Up gang partially witnessed by Draven in THE CROW, but the murderous rape of Iris by Peltier captured on SQUID playback in STRANGE DAYS, implicitly affirming Besson’s dislike of that film. Or was Besson grudgingly supportive of Bigelow in THE MESSENGER like Joan’s male peers, and saying that Bigelow’s problem being accepted as a film artist was caused by being ahead of her time, given that Joan was eventually canonized four hundred years after her death by the Catholic Church? Luckily for Bigelow, though, the laugh was on Besson, for Joan was more likable and inspirational than the medieval men who jeered at and conspired against her the whole film. Indeed, the divinely aided, sensitive but absolutely fearless Joan was a moving tribute to the possibly divinely aided, equally sensitive but fearless Bigelow, and perhaps one that inspired her to return again with Smith on her next fearless, artistic, original, violent and moving allegorical film, and one, furthermore, that was her most feminine film to date, THE WEIGHT OF WATER (2000).
‘Love is never as ferocious as when you think it’s gonna leave.’
Significantly, after a haunting opening title montage, the film began in 1873 with the frightened and implicitly Lucas linked German bachelor, Louis Wagner-played by Ciaran Hinds-being frantically escorted by police through a mob of furiously shouting people on a street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on a dark night fittingly watched over by an ominously full moon. This outraged opening recalled the ending of all good monster movies, with the mob of angry villagers with torches and pitchforks chasing the latest incarnation of Frankenstein or the Werewolf through their dark and moonlit village. Curiously, after this climatic beginning, the film then slowly worked its way back to this monstrous and nightmarish climax by telling the story that led to Wagner being treated with such fear and loathing by the good and God fearing people of Portsmouth. It turned out the angry mob believed Wagner was the monster who had killed two young Norwegian immigrant women, Anethe and Karen Christenson-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.
However, when the murderous climax returned at the end of THE WEIGHT OF WATER, we discovered that it was actually Karen’s troubled and newlywed young sister, Maren Hontredt-who often looked and dressed like the young Dutch woman in the Johannes Vermeer painting, ‘The Girl With The Pearl Earring’ (1665, and was played by Sarah Polley-the wife of the Cameron resembling and implicitly linked John Hontredt-played by Ulrich Thomsen-who murdered Anethe and Karen. For Maren was worried that Anethe and Karen would reveal to John that she had had an incestuous relationship with her implicitly Spielberg linked brother, Evan Christenson-played by Anders W. Berthelsen-as a youth, and that would end her marriage. After killing the beautiful, blonde, implicitly Kate Capshaw and Hollywood linked Anethe with an axe and strangling Karen to death, Maren then blamed the murders on Wagner, who was soon found guilty of the murders and hung. As Maren fingered the implicitly Lucas linked Wagner in revenge for attempting to seduce her and Anethe while boarding at the Hontredt house on Smuttynose Island, the implication was that Bigelow felt that Lucas had brought upon his own execution by outraged audiences the previous year when he tried but failed to roast and triumph over Cameron in the implicit form of Jake Lloyd’s Anakin Skywalker in the allegorical film, STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999).
Curiously, the callous murders of Anethe and Karen evoked the deaths of Chen and Le in the TZ disaster. This link to the twilit and disastrous year of 1982 was implicitly affirmed by the presence of Sean Penn as the chain smoking and implicitly Lynch linked Pulitzer prize winning poet, Thomas Janes, in the second and equally tempestuous drama set in the present that was intercut with the monster movie, as Penn played Jeff Spicoli in the allegorical and implicitly New Hollywood roasting Amy Heckerling film, FAST TIMES AT RIDGMONT HIGH (1982). The two stories were linked due to the fact that Jean Janes-played by Catherine McCormack-the photojournalist wife of Thomas, used a weekend sailing expedition in the Isle of Shoals chain on the good ship, Antares, piloted by Rich Janes-played by Josh Lucas-the younger brother of Thomas, to visit and photograph Smuttynose Island for an article. Here Jean became so impressed by the reality of the island and by what she read about the murders for the article, that she began to investigate the murders herself. This investigation was spurred by dreams and waking visions she began to have about the murders, dreams and waking visions that FBI Special Agent Cooper also experienced as he unravelled the mystery of the murder of the equally beautiful, blonde and implicitly Hollywood linked Laura Palmer-played by Sheryl Lee-in TWIN PEAKS. The intercutting of a drama with a murderous past also evoked the implicitly Lynch addressing and allegorical Mike Figgis film, LIEBESTRAUM (1991), reaffirming the implicit Lynch addressing intent of THE WEIGHT OF WATER.
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 ‘Smoking’ Gunne-the sleek and sexy new girlfriend of Rich, played by Elizabeth Hurley-who was swept off the Antares into the surging ocean by a storm. This drowning, perhaps a punishment for the implicitly adulterous fling that Thomas had had with Adaline that symbolized Bigelow’s conviction that Lynch had gotten too close to Hollywood and killed his pure art roots, 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. For his part, Sir Scott implicitly linked Bigelow to FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling in his twilit, allegorical and implicitly David Cronenberg addressing film, HANNIBAL (2001). 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. Then the ocean deaths returned when Bigelow took a big step into the brave new millennium of film art with her most moving, fearless, artistic, original and commanding allegorical film to date-and her first one with significant CGI enhancement-a film not only without a strong female character but without any major female character at all, unless you counted the fateful submarine itself, K19: THE WIDOWMAKER (2002).
‘This is the future, Pavel.’
Significantly, the Cold War story of the crew of a ‘cursed’ Soviet submarine that managed to survive a meltdown of its nuclear reactor by superhuman welding repair work on the ruptured cooling pipe that caused twenty-seven crew members to die of radiation poisoning-their radiation burns evoking the burns caused by exorcising sunlight that plagued the outlaw vampires of NEAR DARK-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 Harrison Ford as Captain Alexei Vostrikov, as Ford played replicant hunter Rick Deckard in BLADE RUNNER. This dual link to 1982 implied that K19: THE WIDOWMAKER was a twentieth anniversary meditation on the TZ disaster, the dread allegorical Zone Wars and the computer graphic imagery (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. As the pipe rupture that almost led to the blockbuster meltdown of the nuclear reactor was accomplished with CGI, and the superhuman effort to weld the pipe, cool the reactor and save the submarine was done by the human crew alone with no CGI enhancement, Bigelow implied her belief that CGI enhancement would simply create blockbuster bombs if a film lacked the vital humanity-and the intelligent scripts and able directors that inspired actors all other members of a film production-to rise to the superhuman challenge of creating a work of film art. This linked the sub to film art and Captain Vostrikov and the crew to a film artist and their film crew, reminding us that professional film artists were linked to police officers in BLUE STEEL and FBI agents in POINT BREAK.
A moving message from Bigelow that was implicitly directed at Lucas, given that Ford and Liam Neeson-who played Vostrikov’s second-in-command, Captain Mikhail Polenin-were linked to Lucas via Ford’s role as Han Solo in the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy-and as irritating braggart Bob Falfa in AMERICAN GRAFITTI-and Neeson’s role as Jedi Knight Qui Gonn Jinn in the allegorical and implicitly Cameron and Spielberg roasting Lucas film, STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999), and given that Lucas failed to truly deliver the goods with his two special and visual-including CGI-effects filled STAR WARS trilogies. And a moving message that appeared to impress Rob Bowman, for he implied his support for the fearless Bigelow when he also fused LA FEMME NIKITA with THE CROW like Besson in THE MESSENGER in his allegorical film, ELEKTRA (2005).
‘Legend tells of a unique warrior…This warrior is a woman.’
For Bowman implicitly linked the fearless Bigelow to Jennifer Garner’s equally fearless and Nikita evoking super assassin, Elektra, throughout the film. 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-who 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 Ellen Aim of STREETS OF FIRE also reaffirmed the implicit interest in Bigelow in ELEKTRA.
As for Bigelow, she implicitly did not get Lynch out of her system with THE WEIGHT OF WATER, for she switched from the implicitly Lynch linked Thomas Janes to the implicitly Lynch linked Sergeant William James-played by Jeremy Renner-when she returned with Fiennes and Sam Spruell-who resembled Lynch and had played a Soviet submariner in K19: THE WIDOWMAKER-in bit parts as British mercenaries in another implicit roast of Lynch in her next fearless, artistic, original, violent, CGI enhanced and mostly all male allegorical film, THE HURT LOCKER (2008).
‘What’s going on?’
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 fim, INLAND EMPIRE (2006), implicitly affirming from the outset that Bigelow was addressing Lynch again in THE HURT LOCKER. Renner’s Sgt. James reaffirmed Bigelow’s implicit intent, for the ultra indie, unpredictable, iconoclastic, hands on and machine hating, cigarette and heavy metal loving bomb disposal expert on his first tour with Bravo Company in Iraq evoked the equally ultra indie, unpredictable, iconoclastic, hands on and machine hating, cigarette, heavy metal loving and blockbuster bomb experienced Lynch throughout THE HURT LOCKER, an implication affirmed by all of the film’s many allusions to DUNE and ERASERHEAD. The title of THE HURT LOCKER reaffirmed the implicit Lynch addressing intent of the film, for it evoked the surname of William Hurt, who 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). The sight of James managing to survive every potentially blockbuster bomb defusing fiasco he has thrown at him in the Iraqi streets and living another day reaffirmed 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, implicitly symbolized by the first two improvised explosive devices defused by James. Indeed, Bigelow reaffirmed the implicit Lynch addressing intent of THE HURT LOCKER by having the last major defusing dilemma of Sgt. James before his rotation with Bravo Company ended be an unfortunate Iraqi civilian-the Black Suit Man, played by Suhail al-Dabbach-forced to become a suicide bomber who resembled the Wicked Phantom-played by Krzyztof Majchrzak-that infected the allegorical Lynch film, INLAND EMPIRE (2006), with its insidious machinations.
Significantly, Sgt. James even managed to avoid dying in the end when he failed to successfully defuse the Black Suit Man and was caught in the explosion as he ran away, unlike previous implicitly embodied incarnations of Lynch in Bigelow films like Bodhi and Thomas James. Curiously, the sight of James eventually rousing himself and picking himself up 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 for DUNE. Heck, Bigelow even allowed James to outlast Brian Geraghty’s implicitly Spielberg linked Specialist Owen Eldridge, who was knocked out of the Zone Wars after being ‘accidentally’ shot by James. 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 filmmercials of Spielberg in the long run. 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.
However, no doubt buoyed by those six Oscars-including for Best Director and Best Film-for THE HURT LOCKER that validated and strengthened the persistence of her allegorical vision, Bigelow teamed up again with THE HURT LOCKER writer and co-producer Mark Boal and returned to the embattled Middle East to contemplate more professional soldiers and spooks implicitly linked to professional film artists on her next fearless, artistic, original, violent and CGI enhanced allegorical film, ZERO DARK THIRTY (2012).
‘Well, you certainly have a flair for it.’
Significantly, the film began with the 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 from September 11, 2001 playing over the black screen. This real life horific beginning established the docufeature style of the film, and recalled the equally horrific beginnings of THE WEIGHT OF WATER and THE HURT LOCKER. 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). Thus, Bigelow signalled at the start of ZERO DARK THIRTY that she was sending a message to Spielberg, perhaps in response to the 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-led by Jessica Chastain’s determined and indefatigable CIA agent, Maya-as determined and indefatigable as Turner in BLUE STEEL and Utah in POINT BREAK-finally led to Bin Laden being tracked down and killed by a US 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. How appropriate that Joel Edgerton’s SEAL leader Patrick lead the team that killed Bin Laden at his secretive compound that fateful night in Pakistan, given his link to Lucas via his work as Owen Lars in the allegorical and implicitly Cameron and Spielberg roasting Lucas films, STAR WARS EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES (2002), and STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH (2005). Indeed, with their hi-tech helmets on, the eyes of Patrick and the rest of the SEALs glowed like the eyes of Jawas in the darkness of the compound, affirming the implicit link of Patrick to Lucas.
Curiously, Maya-which meant ‘illusion’ in Sanskrit-evoked Polley’s Maren of THE WEIGHT OF WATER throughout the film, linking her to Toronto film art and film artists. The sight of Maya dressed up in disguises to protect her identity when she questioned Al-Queda and Taliban detainees affirmed Maya’s implicit link to Polley, reminding us that she was an accomplished actor before she became a film art director. The resemblance of CIA colleagues Dan and Jessiac-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 Dan Akroyd, 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 the SEAL team to Cameron and another to Canadian golfer Mike Weir reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in Canada. 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.
Thus, Bigelow implied that Maya’s single minded obsession with hunting down and killing the implicitly Landis linked Bin Laden symbolized the quest of a Canadian linked to Canadian film art to symbolically end the reign of Landis-perhaps a nod to myself and my equally single minded obsession with Folsey, Kennedy, Landis, Lucas, Marshall, Spielberg, the TZ disaster and the dread allegorical Zone Wars, given that my website www.zonewarsonfilm.com was on the internet by 2012. Or was I implicitly linked to a Pakistani national who disseminated the messages of Bin Laden while he was in hiding, an elusive character eventually killed in the closing SEAL raid dismissed as a ‘…freelancer working off the fucking Internet’ by Joseph Bradley-played by Kyle Chandler-one of Maya’s supervisors, evoking my equally elusive work keeping Landis, the TZ disaster and the dread allegorical Zone Wars alive on the Internet? For his part, perhaps impressed by that six Oscar haul for THE HURT LOCKER, 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! Umm-isn’t she?
As for Bigelow, an implicit interest in my Zonebusting website and myself returned when Bigelow returned to the Temple Theatre as executive producer of the Matthew Heineman 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 the Hollywood studios. Rock and load!’ 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. An implicit interest in the poor ol’ Gardevil and allegorical documentary film art that returned when Bigelow travelled from Michoacan to Michigan and teamed up again with writer and co-producer Boal on her next fearless, artistic, original, violent, twilit, tragicomic and allegorical docufeature film, DETROIT (2017).
‘Baby, I’m for real, as real as real can get.’
A curious film that often came across as a retrospective of her film art career, as it focussed on unrest that broke out in Detroit after police raided an after hours club on July 23, 1967 and that resulted in three deaths, the fateful 23rd of July that evoked the twilit ambience of most of the film art of Bigelow as a result of the three fatalities caused the July 23, 1982 TZ disaster; it occurred in the U.S. in the rebel Sixties like THE LOVELESS, a film whose bikers laconically insisted that they were from Detroit and watched the era’s civil rights battles on twilit black and white television; featured a male Afro-American a cappella group called the Dramatics that evoked a similar group called the Sorels-composed of Bird, B.J., Lester and Reggie, played by Stoney Jackson, Mykel T. Williamson, Robert Townsend and Grand Bush, respectively-who were met trying to make it to an after hours club to perform in STREETS OF FIRE; had a period Motown soundtrack that evoked that of AMERICAN GRAFITTI and but also evoked the rockin’ soundtracks of 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 a hostile population as in THE HURT LOCKER; saw the torture of suspects as in ZERO DARK THIRTY; led to the murders of three innocent people in the Algiers Hotel who evoked the TZ trio; a trial of three white police officers and one black security guard who evoked the three white and one black Ghostbusters in the twilit and allegorical Ivan Reitman film, GHOSTBUSTERS (1984), and their trial in the twilit and allegorical Reitman film, GHOSTBUSTERS 2 (1989); and ended with the Dramatics on stage singing and bringing harmony back to the Temple Theatre, reminding us that the Sorels were last seen on stage bringing harmony back to the Temple Theatre with the Dan Hartman written number, ‘I Can Dream About You’-actually sung by Winston Ford-at the end of STREETS OF FIRE.
The main differences between DETROIT and STREETS OF FIRE were that racial harmony mostly prevailed, and that all of the four original Sorels returned for the closing number, while the sweet and sensitive Dramatics crooner, Larry Cleveland Reed-played by Algee Smith-was so traumatized by his experiences in the Algiers Hotel that he left the Dramatics and went on to become a gospel singer in a Detroit church for the rest of his life. Curiously, given the allusions to GHOSTBUSTERS, the presence of Aubrey Pollard (!)-played by Nathan Davis jr.-and that Larry Cleveland Reed, the humble church choir singer, implicitly evoked Gary William Wright, the humble Zone War fiction and film art scholar who liked to read and had an equally modest job as a Library Technician, and given 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, Bigelow implied that she was sending a message to me with DETROIT. An implicitly wistful and sad lament for me wasting my talents as a Library Technician after being shocked, outraged and depressed by the TZ disaster, like Reed wasted his talents as a gospel singer after being shocked, outraged and depressed by the three murders in the Algiers Hotel. If so, all I could say was ‘ouch!’. Sorry to dismay you, Bigs! At any rate, an implicit interest in Bigelow and the poor ol’ Gardevil returned in the twilit and allegorical Taika Waititi film, THOR: RAGNORAK (2017).
‘Darling, you have no idea what’s possible.’
Indeed, Hela, the bewitching and Vampira evoking goddess of Death-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 was implicitly linked to the reigning Queen of Hollywood her equally violent and death dealing film art throughout the film. Heck, Hela even crushed Mjolnir, the mighty and phallic hammer of her younger brother, Thor-played by Chris Hemsworth-with an ironically casual insouciance-yipe! It was a fitting link, given that the tall, blonde, bearded and lightning storm commanding Thor had been implicitly linked to the equally tall, once blonde, bearded and Lightstorm Entertainment commanding Cameron since the allegorical and implicitly Cameron satirizing Kenneth Branagh film, THOR (2011), and given that Bigelow took the 2009 Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture from Cameron and his twilit and allegorical epic, AVATAR (2009). While fitting, it was also quite a change for Bigelow, since she was implicitly linked to the equally fearless but more sweet and virtuous Asgard warrioress, Sif-played by Jaimie Alexander-in THOR and in the allegorical and implicitly Cameron satirizing Alan Taylor film, THOR: THE DARK WORLD (2014).
Significantly, Hela even had the cool courage to take on the huge and devilish Surtur-voiced by the John Vernon evoking Clancy Brown-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. At any rate, with Bigelow implicitly satirized in THOR: RAGNORAK, even Haka chanting half-Maori film artists implicitly affirmed that the film art loving and blockbuster beast thrashing Bigelow was the Fearless.
Gibson, William. Burning Chrome. New York: Eos, 2003.
-----. Neuromancer. New York: Ace Books, 1984.