Ace in the Hole

Ace in the Hole

People often talk about media and cultural critiques in films being ahead of their time or somehow still relevant even after so long. The point of view is often (but not always) a certain amount of awe or wonder at how the film could manage this timelessness, but in this case, and ones like it, I often just feel sad. I've made a similar point before, but this film, and others like it, are failures. The media circus has only gotten grosser, more callous, and protracted. There is no Mr. Boot now, though. Every little paper, major news network, and blog site is full of Charles Tatums instead. The lesson they took from this film wasn't to respect human life or something about the frustration of being stuck in a place you don't want to be, but that you just have to be more careful. This, despite the best efforts of Wilder and Douglas.

To be fair to them, their efforts are rather great. Douglas has screen presence like few others, and Wilder's eye weaves the claustrophobic spaces of the cave with the wide open madness of the media circle outside with style. It's pointed flashiness, a deeply cynical eye to match a deeply cynical character. But something in it, like so many others, failed. Probably because you can't reform a system from within, maybe because it's just a goddamned movie and not the fucking messiah. Either way, it's still sad.

December count: 75/100.

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