December 22, 2005

Hollywood Sympathetic To Terrorists

From Yahoo News:

Hollywood is showing a new side of terrorism.

And it's a human one.

To the dismay of some critics, several films are offering humanizing portraits of extremists, including suicide bombers

Paradise Now tells the story of two men recruited for a suicide bombing mission in Tel Aviv. The film, which opened in October, received a Golden Globe nomination for best foreign picture and has taken in about $1 million domestically.

Syriana, the George Clooney political drama that opened Nov. 23, paints a sympathetic portrait of a young man recruited into a radical Islamic group planning an attack on a U.S. oil firm. The movie has taken in about $23 million and earned two Golden Globe nominations.

Sleeper Cell, a 10-hour Showtime miniseries that began Dec. 4, is about an al-Qaeda-like group planning an attack in Los Angeles.

Munich, which opens Friday, is Steven Spielberg's examination of the 1972 Olympics massacre and offers the perspective of both Israeli soldiers and members of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Clooney, who produced Syriana, says the trend stems largely from growing American displeasure with the Iraq war.

"I've been called a traitor for questioning the war," he says. "But more people are beginning to look critically at what our government is doing, who we're fighting. And that's the most patriotic thing you can do."

Syriana, for example, "simply doesn't want to paint things in black and white, because the world isn't that way," Clooney says. "The world is complicated, and good movies try to show that."

But some film observers, including critic Michael Medved, say the films are less concerned with artistic integrity than with demonstrating Hollywood liberalism.

"The entertainment industry very clearly tilts to the left," he says. "And the left has been skeptical of the current war on terror."

Randy Roberts, a professor of history at Purdue University, says the motivations could be simpler. Studios may be trying to capitalize on anti-war sentiment.

"Hollywood is a business," he says. "They are good at gauging when the luster is off. Maybe they ... want to try to do something new to make more money."

But will they? None of the films has yet caught fire with the public.

Maybe, the films have not "caught fire with the public" because the public doesn't have its collective head up its ass like Hollywood does. The American public understands that suicide bombers are not heroes or sympathetic characters. Suicide bombers are mass murderers.
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