I was born in Texas, but D.C. is home. I moved here just before second grade and, except for college an hour away and my two years in Chicago, I have lived in the area ever since. Maybe that’s why I took it so hard when “Olympus Has Fallen,” out Friday, gleefully destroyed the city.
Or maybe I nearly walked out because the film took the killing of extras to new heights, thanks to suicide bombers, machine-gun-bearing airplanes and tumbling pieces of the Washington Monument. Or maybe I was angry because the last time a terrorist attack hit my city, I was teaching in a classroom
10 miles away, watching it with 25 10th-graders
I was supposed to reassure.
Movies that explore violence — and there are great ones, some of which are staggeringly gory — are one thing. It’s something else altogether to be expected to sit passively by (or, worse, encouraged to cheer) while watching images of human beings as they get their heads blown off, get knives jabbed into their skulls, or get beaten bloody, without missing a bite of our popcorn.
We have enough pointless violence, enough 6-year-olds with bullet wounds, enough soldiers going from alive to dead with one loud bang, enough news stories about people diving for cover as automatic-weapons fire rips through a crowd. “Olympus Has Fallen” is a morally reprehensible film that brings nothing to the table except a staggering body count. It doesn’t examine violence in any way, and there is nothing innovative or intriguing about it.
If you were here the last time terrified people came streaming out of the White House, you’ve seen this horror show before. No one needs to see it again.
If you’d like proof that “violent movie” doesn’t mean “stupid movie,” the AFI Silver in Silver Spring is showcasing the films of Quentin Tarantino and Park Chan-wook, both masters of intelligent film violence. This weekend you can see Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” and “Kill Bill Vol. 1” and Park’s “Stoker” and “Oldboy.”