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January 29, 2007

Bobby versus The Kingdom

We went to the cinema on Friday, and like proper tourists we went to Leicester Square for the big screen and big price experience. There wasn't anything particularly that we wanted to see, so basically on the strength of the cast listed on the billboards we went to see ensemble piece "Bobby". It really was the night of a gazillion stars, as seemingly everyone with a speaking part in a film with dozens of characters was an A-lister or a recognisable face.

I didn't know very much about the RFK story, so the political background and archive footage used during the film was of interest, and we really enjoyed it. Despite being set in 1968 it still had a contemporary message about a divided body politic, an unpopular war, and the need for peace and reconcilliation.

Not so the trailer for "The Kingdom" which came beforehand. We sat with our jaws dropping as the premise of an FBI team being air-lifted into Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism on their own terms unfolded before us. Cartoon baddie Arabs, plenty of gung-ho "for freedom" macho posturing, and the name-checking of real life 'villains' like Abu Hamza. I suppose they must have made war movies during the Second World War, but their seemed to be something extraordinarily distasteful about selling the war on terror as entertainment, at the same time as democratic Governments in the west are using the fear of terror as a mechanism to squeeze civil liberties.

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