Oh, oh, oh, the horror of it all.
(this is not a movie review . There’s plenty of those out there to peruse if you’re looking for analysis. This is not of that ilk, this is not a rational “critique.”)
I actually felt sick . Still, I was completely glued to the screen.
During some of the scenes, I worried that I might have to sneak out of the movie theater, running out into the fresh air to settle my stomach… have I ever been thrust into such intimacy with this kind of horror? This is not naivete people, believe me, it’s something else.
When “Felix” and his wife snuggled in bed, relishing the possibilities of killing “n,” I felt the contents of my stomach inch up a few notches. Their pasty complexions sent sinking blue fear in my veins. I asked myself, “is this real?” Maybe it is time to shut my eyes and say out loud, “this is a just a movie, Rachel, it’s just a movie.”
When I heard all that vitriol, all those horrible slurs, even all that profanity (I am no prude, believe me) over and over and over… cutting off limbs, slicing up hearts, I could taste the blood in their mouths, smell their violence. This is Hate. This is Fear.
Why didn’t I respond this way to seeing the footage of Charlottesvile last year? I was appalled, worried, sad, and angry. But I didn’t feel sick to my stomach.
I know we have cults, fanatics, soldiers all over the world who are trained and brainwashed to see the world as black and white, and while this strengthens military might, I’ve always held this view as distorted and untrue. I am turned off by melodrama, I see it as short-sighted and often shallow. I hear myself often cry, “the world is more complicated than that! Why are we so bent on dividing the world between us and them, between ‘other’ and ‘ourselves?'”
But maybe I’m wrong.
Sure, I try to see and feel the psychological underpinnings of misguided, unhinged fanaticism, I try to see all of us in our frail humanity. “There but for the grace of god…”
But maybe I’m wrong.
Maybe there are villains after all.
Movies with zombies and blood-spurting body parts don’t really scare me at all. But Spike Lee’s Blackkklansman … I shiver. I am nauseated. I am sick.
Sure, it’s got humor, it has amazing artistry—the acting is superb, Spike Lee’s direction is sublime in all its glory, and perhaps it is his mastery of craft, his soaring ability to make art…that delivers the final blow:
This is a scary movie.
It is us. It is them. It is all of us. “Power to the people. All the people.” (Blackkklansman, 2018)
I am still (a little bit less now) sick today.