Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)

I have a long review of the new movie Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017) up at Counter-Currents:

Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017), a new film by writer/director S. Craig Zahler and which stars Vince Vaughn in the lead, enters the canon of recent films and TV shows dealing symbolically with the plight of white men in contemporary America. This theme is explored through the protagonist’s surface level patriotism, antagonisms between Mexicans and Anglos, and through the allegory of a beaten-down Christianity, as embodied in the character of Bradley Thomas (Vince Vaughn).

The variants of patriotism and Christianity depicted in the film, however, are not of the increasingly specious patriotism of Proposition Nation, nor the ascetic theologies and pathological altruism of Christianity’s most liberal proponents today. Rather, they signify a tired and ragged patriotism and an older, more muscular Christianity, where strength, honor, and mercy coalesced into a white Christendom, the heritage of which bound Western European cultures together and largely defined the contours of Western civilization.

Whatever Zahler’s intentions may have been in writing and directing this film, they do not necessarily have to align with the film’s communicative symbols. After a brief Jungian foray into how successful, resonant films can act as an expression of the collective unconscious, I will attempt some interpretive decoding of Brawl in Cell Block 99, the plot of which involves Bradley’s attempt to, so to speak, secure the existence of his family and a future for his white child. In the case of Brawl in Cell Block 99, discipline, stoicism, great violence, and ultimately personal sacrifice are required.

Read the rest here.

This entry was posted in Film. Bookmark the permalink.