Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Film Review: "What's the Matter With Kansas?"

I just saw the film, "What's The Matter With Kansas?" with my wife.  Now since I don't get date nights often, I want them to go well, but this was disappointing.  I learned of the film quite by accident.  A friend at work loaned me the book to read and I found it quite interesting--I've read about a quarter of it.  I began searching about it online and learned of the film, which is playing in one theater in NYC and that run would end in a few short days.  Thus, the rush was on for me to try and catch the flick before it was gone.  Well, we kind of expect that films will not be as good as books, but this film was not a success.  I attribute this to lack of commentary and direction--as in, "what's the point?"  Not having finished the book, I am uncertain what the point is and the film did not alleviate the problem.  Furthermore, the two things are very different.  The film only covers the same subject: Kansas, politics and the culture war, but the film is all show and no tell.  Both feature the author, but the film hardly so, which is unfortunate--the scenes which feature him are the clearest in meaning.  This is a shame because the subject matter is so important.

Although the film resists taking a derisive tone towards Christians, it uses them against themselves.  An effort at depicting Middle American Christian culture goes on here, and while one is tempted to feel this may not be truly representative, the outpouring during the pro-life campaign described is surprising to say the least.  So many persons were willing to be arrested in acts of civil disobedience that the targeted abortion clinic shut down!  It did not appear that the police were being accommodating either. The intention appears to be to demonstrate that these folks are sincere, whether one thinks them crazy or not.  I don't think them crazy at all, nor do I think them the only reason that Kansas votes the way it does.  I would say that the film dwells on them too much, except that they do provide a coherent philosophy one can dissect and perhaps find a route to understand those who vote similarly without openly espousing the same views.  This is not sufficiently communicated in the film, however.  Therefore, these are only my thoughts and guesses.  Perhaps after finishing the book I will understand more clearly--it may be that the two can complement one another.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home