Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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The Hays Code wouldn't allow a film to depict a wife justly killing her husband, but it did allow you to show that husband psychologically terrorizing his wife. On top of that, Boyer getting top billing over the incredible Bergman also feels like a form of gaslighting.
A total cinematic malfunction.
In a well-known anecdote, after a special screening of the film for leading voices of the contemporary feminist movement, Betty Friedan, whose The Feminine Mystique helped bring second wave feminism to popular consciousness, lambasted Bryan Forbes' 1975 suburban satire as "a rip-off of the women's movement." Although she never elaborated, Friedan's point seems to be that the movie, rather than didactically critiquing systemic patriarchy in order to raise the political consciousness of its audience, instead makes hay through a caricature of feminist arguments about domesticity. Yet to that end, and what Friedan misses, is how this blend of gothic domestic horror and brooding sci-fi straddles the militant self-seriousness of second wave feminism and (foreseeing) the parodic subversion of third wave feminism. Seen from within that latter paradigm, the film (despite its other cinematic flaws) embodies the automatization of womanhood, anticipating Haraway's cyborg manifesto or Butler's work on the dissidence of drag by identifying with and pushing to the extreme the norms the narrative aims to undermine, not by raising consciousness but by bringing unconscious assumptions to the fore.
Bridging the misfit, reluctant cerebralism of Baldwin with the brawn-over-brains of the cinematic Ryans who will follow, Ford really makes for the quintessential Dad Spy, the perfect embodiment for Clancy's paternalistic wish fulfillment.
The psychological depth and tension, dense and serpentine plot points, and an outstanding cast are all packed as tightly into this superb sub thriller as sardines in a can, or Ruskies in a typhoon-class leviathan.