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New Escapist Column! On Taika Waititi’s Totally Radical Postcolonial “Thor: Ragnarok”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. Because it was released three years ago this month, I took a look back at the postcolonial politics of Thor: Ragnarok, and put them in a broader cultural context.

Ragnarok is one of the most enjoyable superhero movies ever made. It’s both fun and funny. However, it’s also one of the best and smartest entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a joyous exploration of the legacy of colonialism and an interrogation of the consequences of imperialism. Ragnarok is bold and provocative, but is also so shrewd and slyly constructed that it manages to sneak a genuinely revolutionary perspective under the radar.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

Non-Review Review: Sweet Country

This film was seen as part of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival 2018.

“What chance does this country have?” asks Sam Neill towards the climax of Sweet Country.

In the context of the scene, it isn’t entirely clear to whom the character is speaking. There is one other individual in the scene, but they are preoccupied at that moment and it’s not clear they are even within earshot when Neill’s character makes his grave assessment about the future of this young nation. However, outside the context of the scene, it is very apparent to whom Neill’s character is addressing his concerns. He is speaking directly to the audience through the medium of film.

Sweet Country is not a film that does subtlety or nuance. As Neill’s character offers this pointed question, he stumbles through the Australian wilderness, as if to suggest that he is lost. He stops just short of bluntly stating that he is lost, just like this country, the film demonstrating uncharacteristic faith in the audience’s narrative and thematic comprehension. Nevertheless, just in case the audience still doesn’t get it, Neill’s character asks this very profound question while wandering in the direction of the tail end of a rainbow set against a stormy sky.

“What chance does this country have?” the character wonders. The audience doesn’t feel the need to articulate the obvious response, “Not much, if it produces films like this.”

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