Mirror Images -- Two CIA Action Flicks

Recently I watched the movies Erased and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. The movies themselves are good, secret agent / underworld action flicks in the tradition of the Bourne series or Taken, though not quite as suspenseful or compelling.

What I found interesting was the sociopolitical viewpoints of the two movies, which mirror each other. First I have to say that the social and political aspects in these films are minimal. Regardless of what one thinks about the US or its intelligence agencies, they are enjoyable because they are mostly fighting, chasing, and solving mysteries. However, in those few places where background is given, Erased assumes the US is part of the problem, while Jack Ryan assumes the US is one of the good guys.

I think one example from each movie is enough here. In Erased, the hero is a highly trained warrior whose motivation for leaving a US intelligence agency is that he "grew a conscience." In Jack Ryan, the hero is a former USMC officer who was severely wounded in Afghanistan and given a medical discharge. He gets a Ph.D. and joins an American intelligence agency as an analyst because he still wants to serve his country.

These little differences interest me. The stories a culture tells about itself are important. I don't think one movie is very important. But I think the themes that are repeated in movie after movie do have an impact on how that culture sees itself.

1 comment:

Ymar Sakar said...

A more complicated setup would be to portray the US as it is closer to reality, both the Good and the Evil, that there is an entity which is both savior and villain.

It would break certain boxed in thinking that is popular amongst the mainstream.