Naturally, hours after the confirmed death of Osama Bin Laden in the middle of last year, studios were sprinting to be the first to make a movie about his life. Yikes. Well, there’s not much more to explain in regards to that, but there are two things that will probably be on everyone’s mind. Firstly, is it too soon to make a movie about one of the worst men in recent history? Secondly, will the chosen director be qualified enough? Let’s get that second question over with. There has already been a decision to put Kathryn Bigelow in charge, and this was decided, actually, within the day Bin Laden died. It’s apparent that this decision was final, because she’s still running the show for the not-yet-titled film. So, not only did they decide to make a film about him within the day of his death, but it was pretty much finalized in a number of areas? Damn. I wish my teachers worked that fast with their marking. So, Ms. Bigelow is the one with this potentially-upsetting film in her hands. Again, can she handle it?
Bigelow, who I like to call K-B: The Moviemaker (okay, I don’t, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I guess not), is a director who has been working hard for many years but has only managed to receive critical success recently. She’s released quite a few films, but most of them weren’t that big financially or, again, critically. Her biggest success was 91’s Point Break, which was hip to watch but didn’t really age too well (save for those who love the nostalgic rush the film leaves you with). Then she made films including the underrated Strange Days and the underwhelming The Weight of Water. Basically, her films are hit or miss. Which was her biggest hit? 2009’s The Hurt Locker, easily one of the best war-related films ever created (let alone of the last decade). This independent film came out of nowhere. It’s explosive, full of tension and fear, and was, yes, expertly directed. The initial watch makes your hair stand on end, and the viewings that follow will leave you questioning the addiction some have with war. It took massive control of the Academy Awards (rightfully so), and it even set a standard for female filmmakers, as Bigelow became the first female director to win Best Director (she also won literally every award she was nominated for. Seriously).
Surely enough, this instant classic shook the brains and hearts of almost everyone that watched it. However, was this a fluke? Again, it wasn’t a film that worked so well just because of its script, but the directing was superb. She did a wonderful job. Other films of hers, for the most part, tend to be a bit of a drag (yes, Point Break included. I said it), save for Strange Days. As always, that’s just my own opinion. It could be entirely possible that she works well with good screenwriters, really. So let’s say she gets a wonderful screenwriter to put together the script for the upcoming Bin Laden film. Say this screenwriter can write a better story than Joseph Heller on steroids (how that would affect one’s writing is unimportant. I’ve taken many steroids and my writing is horrendous, as just proven, but let’s get back on track). Is it still too soon to make this kind of film? We’ve had a few films about 9/11 itself, including the wonderful United 93, and some good efforts that came short (World Trade Center, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), along with documentaries (Fahrenheit 9/11 for example). None of these films, however, were complete failures. Then you have Remember Me. How’s that a 9/11 film you may ask? It isn’t and it shouldn’t be considered one, but, for those that know, there’s one of the biggest cop outs in recent cinematic history that offended everyone. It basically, for the lack of a more appropriate way to put it, shat all over those who were affected by the attacks on the World Trade Center that day as a lame excuse to create sympathy for a character, which, really, had nothing to do with that event whatsoever. What made this scene so controversial, for the most part? Because it was too soon after the actual event.
People have questioned why I feel this way and have compared it to the movie Titanic. First of all, Titanic came out almost a hundred years after the event took place. Secondly, the entire film was about the ship, unlike Remember Me being fully about 9/11. Without spoiling the latter, here’s the best analogy for how badly Remember Me pissed on the horrific event. Imagine the film Titanic. Jack and Rose aren’t on the ship, but instead, they live in Greenland. One day they decide to fight the evil ice giants, and they break off one of the icebergs, and suddenly, the twist ending is that the Titanic hit the iceberg. Out of nowhere. No relation whatsoever.
After the world’s longest caption, and going so far off track, the point is Titanic was relative to its subject. Remember Me was not. Obama Bin Laden’s biopic (God, that sounds scary) is surely and positively going to be about, well, him. We’ve had good movies, and okay movies, about this touchy event, but those weren’t solely about the man behind the attacks. Is it still too soon? One last example we can look at for a possible answer to this is The Great Dictator; Proof that Charlie Chaplin had more balls than most filmmakers today have. The Great Dictator was a satyrical comedy about Adolf Hitler. When was it released? 1940, during the rise of Hitler’s power and wrath. At the start of Hitler’s effort for world domination, this film didn’t even work as a biopic like the film about Bin Laden’s will. It was a comedy about Hitler, which instantly makes it even more offensive. How was it received? Extremely well (except by the German government, which, well, was expected). This wasn’t even after World War II. This was during the rise of a tyrant. How much worse can your timing be?
Well, okay it did well at the time. Do people care about it now? Actually, yes. The Great Dictator is considered one of the best comedies ever made, with one of the best cinematic speeches ever made. Then again, this is Charlie Chaplin we’re talking about. It’s not like the guy only released one good movie or something. The guy could sneeze while typing with only his left hand, drunk, and can still come up with a fantastic movie. Bigelow, as previously stated, is rather hit or miss. Will it be any good? Will it be too risky? Will it stand the test of time and stay relevant? I guess this is one of those cases where we will just have to wait and see. As skeptical as it may be (especially since this movie project was pretty much thought up within hours after Bin Laden’s death, which doesn’t seem like they’re doing it for money, riiiiiight?), I have a feeling this could end up being fairly good. What do you think?
Also, I swear the relation between Bigelow and Titanic was not intentional, but there you go.