This past weekend I got to go see a movie with my mom-in-law. She is 74 and mother of my wife, who is 45. Her main passion, according to her, is activism.
It was a peace movie, a “clipless” movie: the movie seems to be showing from Twitter. It’s called “Bright” and it’s about a street cop fighting crime during the day, all while in a magic mask and a police badge.
We knew my wife and her mother had a big interest in the issue of human rights.
They were both active in the civil rights movement, in supporting women’s right to vote, and in, speaking out about humanitarian crises such as Cambodian genocide.
We both went with our wives. My wife wrote a blurb about it for my site, See You Tuesday. I came to the movie with my wife. The details of it in my review are, by my calculations, slightly twisted because the film is, by some estimations, an hour long. I have to leave it in and give it to you all in full. We all thought it was great, but we also wanted to go to a movie with an actual serial killer. (Accuracy demands disclosure.)
The movie began with the apparent apprehension of the guy on the rooftop. The “leader” (portrayed by African-American actor David Oyelowo) is behind glass in what appeared to be the cage of a prison. He is wearing a dark suit and sits in a pensive position.
He begins to cry.
Our hero later arrives, in a short uniform, and talks a bit. You cannot say much because he’s not actually really there, and this sort of thing never happens in movies with real people.
He explains the plot: “… Bright lights.” The “bright lights” are the police presence. He promises it will have consequences.
He explains the film is a procedural. He explains the movie will tell us what happened and what changes should happen. He says the story is deep, it is complex, and anyone else who tells it is blowing smoke.
The traditional villain of such movies is never the villain. He is only a fiction, like Frankenstein. And just like in the fable of the creature, some changes need to happen. But the cop is clearly the protagonist. He keeps saying that while the movie features someone who killed hundreds in his city, he killed one.
He hangs on his statement to the end, when he needs to inspire the film audience with something.
The villain, it seems, is in the police station.
You would think it’s like “The Sopranos.”
You would think it’s a combination of “The Terminator” and “The Thing.”
On one level, I found myself flattered to be part of this circle of resistance. My mom-in-law — ex-military, an active entrepreneur and single mom — wants to support real change.
Sitting with my wife on the third row, I wondered how she would respond if our local precinct came out and did a screening in the neighborhood. We wondered whether she would join. And then we thought back on the other urgent commitments we have made over the last year. We don’t need to get more jobs for our neighbors. Our homework is to try and make their lives better.
I have a broken ankle from finishing a book. I need to do this with my foot first, first. I could have gotten more groceries. I just could have. My Saturday meant picking up a movie at the theater and headed to a theater 2 miles away.
Heather Culver is a writer for View from the Left.