Friday, February 15, 2013

The Mark of the Beast (and also I'm gonna try and write more stuff)

I'm reviewing movies for an outfit called Cinemania now. They tend to get a lot of horror/exploitation, non-English, art-house and documentary things - so that's obviously what I'll be reviewing. With any luck this'll prompt me to do more non-review writing as well.

The first thing I've done for them was Rudyard Kipling's Mark of the Beast - it wasn't very good. The short story I checked for reference, I found here if you're interested.

As a post-script to the review there (to sum up - the problems almost all stem from a clumsy transposition of the story form Kipling's India circa 1890 to a modern "Forest" which makes a very poor substitute) I had a minor revelation this morning. Actually, America does have a modern equivalent (or at least, enough of an equivalent for the story to make sense) to Kipling's India - the Middle East.

Sure, it'd have been on-the-nose to set the story there and might have made the movie quite controversial. However, it'd let the characters continue to be military with all the "protect your mates" culture that goes with that instead of no-one-in-particular civilians, as well as providing a plausible "subject population" instead of the movie's awkward references to "Natives". The questions that Kipling raised in his original story about the relative values of "civilised" and "uncivilised" lives, as well as the unease about the way that the use of torture subverts the cause it is used to support would also have made much more sense that way.

Oh well.

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