the state of things

 

Gratuitous Eagle Eye Spolier

by Douglas Lindsay - 09:16 on 22 October 2008
I'm getting to the finishing stages of sorting out the new edition of The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson. I need to put it to bed and let go. Stop making minute changes to sentence structure that no one else will notice except me.

Nevertheless, time for a quick word on the movie Eagle Eye. This, as they say on all the best movie websites, contains a spoiler for the movie Eagle Eye. In fact, I'm just going to plain tell you what happens at the end. (So you know, don't read on if you don't want to know that everyone in America dies in a massive terror attack...)

OK, OK, everyone in America doesn't die in a massive terror attack. Maybe if Hollywood made movies with a kind of northern European/Russian sensibility, then everyone would die at the end of movies. Like the great little Icelandic picture, Noi the Albino, where they do kill literally everyone who's been in the film at the end. Well, except Noi. But it's still pretty bleak. (I should probably have posted a Noi The Albino spoiler there as well, shouldn't I, although actually, I reckon knowing everyone gets killed at the end somehow makes it even more of an attractive film to watch.)

At the end of Eagle Eye, the hero - whose name in the film I forget, even though it's repeated throughout the movie, so we'll call him The Guy Out Of Transformers (TGOOT) - saves the President of The United States, the rest of his cabinet, and a few hundred other people (including children, by God), by running into a crowded room and firing shots into the air to distract everyone. The bomb doesn't go off, the President gets huckled out of the room, and TGOOT gets shot. Of course he gets shot. You fire a gun anywhere near the President in real life and you're going to get shot by about fifty guys. In the movie, TGOOT gets shot by one guy, two or three times, I think three, in the back. He falls to the ground, dead.

At this point, having been thinking that you'd been watching an averagely mince piece of rubbish, you suddenly have a little more respect. Ok, you're thinking, that was a generic pile of pish, but at least they've had the guts to kill the hero at the end. And then comes the next scene, when all the dead heroes of the film are being remembered. You're watching it, with your new-found respect, expecting at any moment to see TGOOT lying stiffed in his casket, and then there he is, right as rain, standing sombrely beside all the other people who didn't die. WITH HIS ARM IN A SLING.

Oh, for crying out loud.

What happened? Did the film makers have so little respect for their audience, or did they test a version where they killed TGOOT on rooms full of Americans who all left saying, well, I loved it until you killed TGOOT, and now I hate it and I'm going to tell all my friends that this film sucks, how could you do that, we go to the movies to be happy, not see TGOOT get killed...?

Eagle Eye, no doubt, has done far better at the box office than bleak little Noi the Albino. But if you're ever in the DVD shop, and you have the choice...

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