Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Friday, March 29, 2013

Movie Review: Children of the Revolution

As I said before in my review of the Queen of Versailles, I do have a dislike of the wealthy. But it weirds me out when I start sounding too red.

The entirety of modern western civilization is based on commerce, supply and demand, division of labor, incorporation, mass production, credit, futures contracts...

If given a choice, it looked like we might get there for a moment,   I prefer low wages to serfdom and barter. The current economic system has far too many benefits that outweigh its current, hopefully temporary, shortfalls.

Or to put it simply we need business. We need capitalism, a system that provides individuals an incentive to respond to the economic needs of their community, via direct feedback from that community i.e. the dollar.  I needed a movie to snap me out of my socialist sensibilities, other than the fallibility and eventually barbarism that economies run by the state tend to slide into.  An economy of that sort, runs on thou must, which conversely implies thou mustn't.  And I am an enemy of of both.

What was my point again? Oh yeah. I need to watch a movie where Stalin dies in coitus. Children of the Revolution.

The Coin of Comedy (I'm going to dissect the frog.)
Comedy often works on exaggeration and expectation. Which means that the expection has to be set, or at least lampshaded and then broken. You laugh when someone falls because it's so unexpected. The president tripping would be hilarious because you think of him as a man of grace.

And that's what's hilarious about the movie. It is about a die hard ... Australian commie,Joan and her son. I mean they should exist, and in theory did exist, but communism and KGB officers aren't exactly what you think of when you say Sydney.

She manages to woo the leaders of the party including "the leader" of the party. The big man himself, the man of steel. And they you know... boink and she ends up preggers with a secret commissar love child, though it's left ambiguous seeing she also bonked a triple, quadrupole, dodeca, agent the same night. The guy couldn't tell you what country he's working for even if he wanted to.

The movie parodies aspects of Stalin's life by giving it a setting change through his kid.  Rather than 1890's Russia, "Joe" grows up in 1960's Australia, living a parallel life. Again you don't think of an Aussie Stalin and that is the joke. And the movie keeps surprising you because you keep expecting the movie to back off the joke. In fact there are several times where it almost does. You think that the point where it falls apart will be the punchline, but no the punchline is that they manage to continually up the ante... and do so believably. Apart from the scenes actually in Russia, which pays overt homage, to the three stooges, and the third act,  the movie seems to be set in a fairly realistic world.

The Drama of Tragedy
Because it is set in a fairly realistic world there is a lot of drama as well. Again it is set around the two central characters.

You see Joe's slow gradual shift into becoming his father and on some level he hates it, but feels powerless to stop it. In a surrealist talk with the former head of the Russian communist party.

"What made you you?

"I don't know"

"How does someone become monster."

"I don't know"

"It can't be as simple as poverty and child abuse can it.?

"Maybe it's just something in us."

"Something we're born with."

You also see his mother's degradation of his mother as the communist dream dies. The revolution comes the other way, at least in her eyes. Old communism dies, the wall falls, and yes there will eventually be a McDonald's in Red Square. She's unable to see Joe's transformation until it's too late, partially because she can't admit the truth of her former love to herself. 

While I've haven't really mentioned it she also has another beau who get's a raw deal, being unable to compete with you know, even in memory. Despite, the aforementioned humor it all comes to a halt rather quietly and quickly, and as a result tragically.

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