Asymmetrical Cruelty

When Abby got off work last night we met for dinner and a movie. It was the first time in years since I went to the movie theater to see a movie, since I find the experience overly expensive and much less fun and flexible than watching them at home on our 50-inch flat panel. Still, it’s a brand new theater, and it was a better experience than I expected.

  • The seats are spaced well in all directions, and are comfortable and reclinable.
  • Digital projection has caught up with digital sound: no more dirty prints, bad cutovers, or “focus!”
  • Ticket prices were high-ish, but Abby’s small popcorn and medium Coke were reprehensibly expensive.
  • The floors weren’t sticky, but they might be a year from now.
  • We had the place almost to ourselves.

The movie was Unbroken, based on a true story. Abby read the book beforehand and said that, like a lot of movies, much was trimmed and condensed to get the film to fit in 137 minutes. In fact, though the film depicts barbaric cruelty, Abby says that only a fraction of it made it into the script.

  • It fails to explore the captor/captive relationship as effectively as, for example, Bridge on the River Kwai did.
  • It’s redundant. Yes, there was cruelty. Yes, there was cruelty. Yes, there was cruelty. That made it boring.
  • It was too long. If you’re going to condense a six-hour script, get it down to under two hours.

As I ingested this as something of an attempt at a historical depiction, I was reminded of a very clear issue, that there was a profound asymmetry of cruelty between Japan and the United States at this point in history. It’s easy to cry and whine about rounding up Americans of Japanese descent and interring them despite their U. S. citizenship during the second world war, but despite its inherent racism, it was only faintly cruel compared to the all-out physical and psychological abuse and assault perpetrated by the Japanese starting as early as 1931. Manzanar: enough food, clean water, schools, jobs, recreation. Japanese internment: death marches, arbitrary beatings, summary execution, forced labor, intentional starvation. My essential comparison: scared bigots vs bloodthirsty animals.

In conclusion, it was nice to be out on the town with my wife.

This view shows me following my wife home after last night's dinner and movie.
This view shows me following my wife home after last night’s dinner and movie.


  1. This movie’s advertisement do not look appealing. Seems unusual subject matter for Angelina Jolie as a director. I like the POV shot taken at night.

  2. “If you’re going to condense a six-hour script, get it down to under two hours.”

    Certainly. It always bugs me when they can cut a giant book down to 2.3 hours, but couldn’t find a way to cut it to 2.0. At home, I might watch a three-hour movie, but in the theater, I’m going to need to pee at some point.

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