February 21, 2009

National Review Online's Top 25 Conservative Movies of the Last Quarter Century

Over the last week, National Review Online (NRO) has had numerous contributors write up blurbs for what they determined were the best 25 conservative flicks from the last 25 years. They solicited reader ideas; I sent only one in, and it made the cut. (I've noted it below at the appropriate film.)

I've put in bold the films I've seen. I've included the entire NRO commentary for each entry, and for the one's I've caught I've included my own thoughts following NRO's. NRO has the complete list here, sans the movie stills from their original entries. But before we begin, I want to note what I believe constitutes a "conservative" movie. It's pretty simple, actually. The story should include basic conservative (or, more accurately, what I like to call "classically liberal") principles or concepts -- things like self-reliance, hard work, family, a [fairly non-nebulous] belief in "good," patriotism, respect for country and others, equality under the law, and so on.

In addition, I'd like to note several films I felt were worthy of being included in the list but weren't:

  • "Tucker: A Man and His Dream." Jeff Bridges stars as Preston Tucker, an entrepreneur/car designer who engineers a new automobile with innovative -- and safety oriented -- extras. The Big Three notice the threat and conspire to ruin him. Rugged individualism, entrepreneurial spirit, ambition, enthusiasm, far-sightnedness ... it's all there.

  • "The Patriot." Mel Gibson is the man in this Revolutionary epic. He's a reluctant Colonial but soon finds himself immersed in the conflict in order to avenge his sons against a brutal British calvary. It's not very historically accurate, but compared to, say, "JFK" it's probably an autobiography. A good "USA! USA!"-style film even if the country wasn't formed yet.

  • "Miracle." Anyone alive and older than about six in the winter of 1980 will never, ever forget the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid that year. Why? 'Cause a rag-tag bunch of scrappy Yanks defeated a nigh-invincible Soviet team in ice hockey. Soon after they then beat the Fins to win the freakin' gold medal. Americans love underdogs, and we especially love 'em when they're us. Kurt Russell is awesome as coach Herb Brooks.

  • "Stand and Deliver." Hard work. No excuses. Belief in one's self. Edward James Olmos "delivers" that and more in his portrayal of math teacher extraordinaire Jaime Escalante. Olmos gets a bunch of ne'er do well-but-bright Hispanic high schoolers to become math wizards, taking them from basic math to calculus in four years. When they all pass the Advanced Placement math test, the testers wonder how a bunch of poor Latinos did it. Their answer: They must have cheated. Olmos proves them wrong by having the kids test again -- and they score even higher than before.

  • "Hoosiers." "Real friendly town you have here." That's one of Norman Dale's (played by Gene Hackman) first lines in this David vs. Goliath basketball epic. It was sarcastic, because Dale is looked upon with scorn and suspicion by the residents of the tiny hamlet of Hickory -- that is until he takes the small high school's basketball team all the way to the Indiana state finals. Hackman has skeletons in his closet, but he's paid the piper ... and through hard work, perseverance and redemption, the prize becomes his -- and the town's.

  • "The Right Stuff." This adaptation of Tom Wolfe's book is Americana personified. Drive. Ingenuity. Courage. Strength. A rather lengthy flick (three hours), it follows the original seven Mercury astronauts through their training to the first few flights. But it also concentrates on the man with the "rightest stuff" of all -- pilot Chuck Yeager, the first man to break the sound barrier. Yeager amazingly "didn't qualify" for Mercury because he didn't have a college degree. No matter. A guy who can survive a jet flame-out at about 100,000 feet -- and walk away from it -- gives the metaphorical middle finger to such bureaucratic nonsense.

  • "Black Hawk Down." Gutsy adaptation of Mark Bowden's book about the rescue of several soldiers marooned in Mogadishu, Somalia. Courage, dedication to comrades and a never-say-die attitude ultimately -- and thankfully -- prevail, but not without cost. We're also "treated" to the bungling bureaucracy that is known as the United Nations. Feh.

  • "Gladiator." Russell Crowe's dynamic portrayal of General Maximus Decimus Meridius got him an Oscar, and the film got one too. Maximus' charisma is hard-earned -- his men love him due to his dedication to them and their well-being, as well as his love of king and country. But when that king -- Marcus Aurelius (played by Richard Harris) -- is murdered by his power hungry son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), Maximus stays true to the real leader of Rome, and the empire's ideals. This leads Commodus to have Maximus killed, but he escapes -- and he "will have [his] vengeance!"

And now, here's the NRO list:

#25. "GRAN TORINO." NRO says:

Clint Eastwood directs and stars in the ultimate family movie unsuitable for the family. He plays Walt Kowalski, a caricature of an old-school, dying-breed, Polish-American racist male, replete with post-traumatic stress disorder from having served in the Korean War. Kowalski comes to realize that his exotic Hmong neighbors embody traditional social values more than his own disaster of a Caucasian nuclear family. Dirty Harry blows away political correctness, takes on the bad guys, and turns a boy into a man in the process. He even encourages the cultural assimilation of immigrants. It feels so good, you knew the Academy would ignore it.


This marionette movie from "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone is hard to categorize as conservative. It’s amazingly vulgar and depicts Americans as wildly overzealous in fighting terror. Yet the film’s utter disgust with air-headed, left-wing celebrity activism remains unmatched in popular culture. As the heroes move to stop a WMD apocalypse, they clash with Alec Baldwin, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, and a host of others, whom they take out with gunfire, sword, and martial arts before saving the day. The movie, like "South Park" itself, reveals Parker and Stone as the two-headed George Grosz of American satire.

#23. "UNITED 93." NRO says:

Minutes after terrorists struck on 9/11, Americans launched their first counterattack in the War on Terror. Director Paul Greengrass pays tribute to the passengers of United 93 by refusing to turn their story into a wimpy Hollywood melodrama. Instead, "United 93" unfolds as a real-time docudrama. Just as significantly, Greengrass provides a clear depiction of our enemies. United 93 opens as four Muslim terrorists pray in a hotel room. Several hours later, the hijackers’ frenzied shrieks to Allah mingle with the prayerful supplications of United 93’s passengers as they crash through the cockpit door and strike a blow against those who would terrorize our country.

Hube adds: I saw this with several other right-leaning bloggers when it first came out. You'll be on the edge of your seat for the vast majority of the film, needing to take a huge sigh of forced relaxation at story's end. There are no "name" actors in this film; indeed, some of the actual personnel who were on duty that fateful September morning play their roles here.

#22. "BRAZIL." NRO says:

Vividly depicting the miserable results of elitist utopian schemes, Terry Gilliam’s "Brazil" portrays a darkly comic dystopia of malfunctioning high-tech equipment and the dreary living conditions common to all totalitarian regimes. Everything in the society is built to serve government plans rather than people. The film is visually arresting and inventive, with especially evocative use of shots that put the audience in a subservient position, just like the people in the film. Terrorist bombings, national-security scares, universal police surveillance, bureaucratic arrogance, a callous elite, perversion of science, and government use of torture evoke the worst aspects of the modern megastate.

Hube adds: Recommended to me by a good friend years ago, I actually think "Brazil" could hold the top spot. It's everything NRO says and more. Perhaps Robert DeNiro's cameo as sort of a "rogue capitalist" repairman (he end runs around the state-controlled bureaucratic apparatus giving people quick, reliable service for a price) best exemplifies the theme of the film. It just so happens people are more than willing to pay DeNiro for his services as waiting for the state to send someone could take forever, and their quality sucks (sound familiar?). Of course, the authorities are after DeNiro for his "illegal activities." The film's ending is as tragic as it should be predictable, and the terrorism themes could serve as a warning to today's "progressive" elites.


Clint Eastwood’s foul-mouthed Marine sergeant Tom Highway makes quick work of kicking Communist Cubans out of Grenada. And, boy, does “Gunny” hate Commies. Not only does he kill quite a few, he also refuses a bribe of a Cuban cigar, saying: “Get that contraband stogie out of my face before I shove it so far up your a** you’ll have to set fire to your nose to light it.” A welcome glorification of Reagan’s decision to liberate Grenada in 1983, the film also notes how after a tie in Korea and a loss in Vietnam, America can finally celebrate a military victory. Eastwood, the old war horse, walks off into retirement pleased that he’s not “0–1–1 anymore.” Semper Fi. Oo-rah!

Hube adds: This is the film I submitted to NRO for consideration. If you followed the discussion on the NRO blog The Corner, however, quite a few contributors had reservations about it being on the list. I can understand why; Mario Van Peebles' character "Stitch" Jones is more of a cartoon character than soldier (as are some of the other Marines Clint -- Highway -- has to whip into shape), but the overall message is one that always resonates: Just because you can change something doesn't always mean you should. Highway's new C.O. brags about the "new" Marine Corps while simultaneously denigrating Eastwood's past (heroic) service (he won the Congressional Medal of Honor). Naturally, there's a segment in the film where Highway gets to [legally] kick his C.O.'s ass during a training exercise. Highway sums up his C.O.'s command abilities to a general with one word: "Clusterf***."

#20. "GATTACA." NRO says:

In this science-fiction drama, Vincent (Ethan Hawke) can’t become an astronaut because he’s genetically unenhanced. So he purchases the identity of a disabled athlete (Jude Law), with calamitous results. The movie is a cautionary tale about the progressive fantasy of a eugenically correct world—the road to which is paved by the abortion of Down babies, research into human cloning, and “transhumanist” dreams of fabricating a “post-human species.” Biotechnology is a force for good, but without adherence to the ideal of universal human equality, it opens the door to the soft tyranny of Gattaca and, ultimately, the dystopian nightmare of Brave New World.

Hube adds: Simply put, "Gattaca" is a film dedicated to the triumph of the human spirit. I'm not sure what NRO meant by "calamitous results" when Ethan Hawke assumes the identity of Jude Law. Sure, there are problems -- Hawke constantly has to be ultra-careful so as not to leave behind any of his real genetic material in the form of hair or skin, and he has to undergo an excruciating operation to add several inches to his height -- but even when the authorities are on his tail, and even when his love interest learns what his real story is, Hawke's dream is ultimately fulfilled.

#19. "WE WERE SOLDIERS." NRO says:

Most movies about the Vietnam War reflect the derangements of the antiwar Left. This film, based on the memoir by Lt. Col. Hal Moore (played by Mel Gibson), offers a lifelike alternative. It focuses on a fight between an outnumbered U.S. Army battalion and three North Vietnamese regiments in the battle of Ia Drang in 1965. Significantly, it treats soldiers not as wretched losers or pathological killers, but as regular citizens. They are men willing to sacrifice everything to do their duty—to their country, to their unit, and to their fellow soldiers. As the movie makes clear, they also had families. Indeed, their last thoughts were usually about their loved ones back home.

Hube adds: When I rented this film I was worried it'd be yet another film along the lines of what NRO mentioned above. It's not. Part of the reason may be because it takes place before 'Nam became a [politically] lost cause (1965 is before all the sh** hit the fan, so to speak). Overall, it's an excellent film which does precisely what NRO states: Gibson's men are "willing to sacrifice everything to do their duty—to their country, to their unit, and to their fellow soldiers." Gibson's wife is played by the gorgeous [half Costa Rican] Madeleine Stowe, complete with new, collagen-injected lips.

#18. "THE EDGE." NRO says:

Screenwriter David Mamet uses a wilderness survival story about friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness to present a few truths rarely seen in movies: Knowledge has its limits, fortitude is a weapon against hardship, and honor can motivate even the shallowest man to great sacrifice. Some have interpreted the film as a Cold War allegory because it features a menacing bear. The main characters (played by Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin) understand that there is neither wisdom nor nobility in waiting for others to save them, and that they must take responsibility for their own lives and souls. Life is unfair, but to challenge life on its own terms is an exhilarating reward, no matter the outcome.


The White Witch runs a godless, oppressive, paranoid regime that hates Santa Claus. She’s a cross between Burgermeister Meisterburger and Kim Jong Il. The good guys, meanwhile, recognize that some throats will need cutting: no appeasement, no land-for-peace swaps, no offering the witch a snowmobile if she’ll only put away the wand. Underlying the narrative is the story of Christ’s rescuing man from sin—which is antithetical to the leftist dream of perfected man’s becoming an instrument for earthly utopia. The results of such utopian visions, of course, are frequently like the Witch’s reign: always winter, and never Christmas.


This naval-adventure film starring Russell Crowe is based on the books of Patrick O’Brian, and here’s what A. O. Scott of the New York Times said in his review: “The Napoleonic wars that followed the French Revolution gave birth, among other things, to British conservatism, and Master and Commander, making no concessions to modern, egalitarian sensibilities, is among the most thoroughly and proudly conservative movies ever made. It imagines the [H.M.S.] Surprise as a coherent society in which stability is underwritten by custom and every man knows his duty and his place. I would not have been surprised to see Edmund Burke’s name in the credits.”

Hube adds: Crowe is magnificent as Jack Aubrey, who commands the deepest respect of his crew as master of the Surprise due to his rough and tough exterior, yet at the same time he is a classically educated gentleman who possesses not only prodigious leadership qualities but an equal sense of humanity, too. Try to imagine, if you can, young men of age 12 to 13 in the positions held by those on the Surprise -- especially the lad who had to have his arm amputated after a surprise attack by the vessel Surprise was pursuing, the French Acheron. It'll make you fear for the future.

#15: "RED DAWN." NRO says:

From the safe, familiar environment of a classroom, we watch countless parachutes drop from the sky and into the heart of America. Oh, no: invading Commies! Laugh if you want—many do—but Red Dawn has survived countless more acclaimed films because Father Time has always been our most reliable film critic. The essence of timelessness is more than beauty. It’s also truth, and the truth that America is a place and an idea worth fighting and dying for will not be denied, not under a pile of left-wing critiques or even Red Dawn’s own melodramatic flaws. Released at the midpoint of Reagan’s presidential showdown with the Soviet Union, this story of what was at stake in the Cold War endures.

Hube adds: Based on a series of highly improbable events -- virtually the entire world goes Commie allowing a coordinated attack by the Russian, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Mexicans(!) -- "Red Dawn" stars [the young] Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson and Jennifer Grey. Yes, it's highly unlikely a bunch of high school teens could mount an effective insurgency against Russian soldiers, but as NRO says above, the theme is that "America is worth fighting for." It was a bit disturbing the first time I saw it in the theatre in 1984 during the segment when Swayze confronts an injured Russian soldier who's at his mercy. Swayze wastes little time putting a bullet in his head. The audience in the theatre cheered. I admit I was kinda hoping Swayze would do it, too. Perhaps such is the passion with which many of us regard America. It's something we Americans should remember about other countries, too.

#14: "A SIMPLE PLAN." NRO says:

A defining insight of conservatism is that whatever transcendent inspiration there may be to moral principles, there is also the humble fact that morality works. Moral institutions and customs endure because they allow civilization to proceed. Sam Raimi’s gripping A Simple Plan illustrates this truth. Bill Paxton plays a decent family man who lives by the book in every way. But when he’s cajoled into breaking the rules to get rich quick, he falls under the jurisdiction of the law of unintended consequences and discovers that simple morality is not simplistic, and that a seductively simple plan is a siren song if it runs against the grain of what is right.

#13: "BRAVEHEART." NRO says:

Forget the travesty this soaring action film makes of the historical record. Braveheart raised its hero, medieval Scottish warrior William Wallace, to the level of myth and won five Oscars, including best director for Mel Gibson, who played Wallace as he led a spirited revolt against English tyranny. Braveheart taught that freedom is not just worth dying for, but also worth killing for, in defense of hearth and homeland. Six years later, amid the ruins of the Twin Towers, Gibson’s message resonated with a generation of American youth who signed up to fight terrorists, instead of inviting them to join a “constructive dialogue.” Liberals have never forgiven Gibson since.

#12: "THE DARK KNIGHT." NRO says:

This film gives us a portrait of the hero as a man reviled. In his fight against the terrorist Joker, Batman has to devise new means of surveillance, push the limits of the law, and accept the hatred of the press and public. If that sounds reminiscent of a certain former president—whose stubborn integrity kept the nation safe and turned the tide of war—don’t mention it to the mainstream media. Our journalists know that good men are often despised by the mob; it just never seems to occur to them that they might be the mob themselves.

Hube adds: I admit I never viewed "DK" as a Bush allegory, but I can see the analogy. But honestly, I can see virtually any chief exec "devis[ing] new means of surveillance, push[ing] the limits of the law, and accept[ing] the hatred of the press" if a nutjob like the Joker was running around causing such mass chaos. And if he didn't, if he wanted to "sit down and have a constructive dialogue" with the Heath Ledger character, then he should promptly be removed from office. The old adage says "the Constitution is not a suicide pact." Unfortunately, many would rather perish, all the while bragging "At least we gave the terrorists habeas corpus ...!!"


Author J. R. R. Tolkien was deeply conservative, so it’s no surprise that the trilogy of movies based on his masterwork is as well. Largely filmed before 9/11, they seemed perfectly pitched for the post-9/11 world. The debates over what to do about Sauron and Saruman echoed our own disputes over the Iraq War. (Think of Wormtongue as Keith Olbermann.) When Frodo sighs, “I wish none of this had happened,” Gandalf’s response speaks to us, too: “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

#10: "GHOSTBUSTERS." NRO says:

This comedy might not get Russell Kirk’s endorsement as a worthy treatment of the supernatural, but you have to like a movie in which the bad guy (William Atherton at his loathsome best) is a regulation-happy buffoon from the EPA, and the solution to a public menace comes from the private sector. This last fact is the other reason to love Ghostbusters: When Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) gets kicked out of the university lab and ponders pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities, a nervous Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) replies: “I don’t know about that. I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results!”

Hube adds: How this movie made the top 25 is beyond me. It's terrific entertainment, but aside from the instances noted by NRO above (which are quite fleeting), c'mahn!


"Revolutionary Road" is only the latest big-screen portrayal of 1950s America as boring, conformist, repressive, and soul-destroying. A decade ago, Hugh Wilson’s "Blast from the Past" defied the party line, seeing the values, customs, manners, and even music of the period with nostalgic longing. Brendan Fraser plays an innocent who has grown up in a fallout shelter and doesn’t know the era of Sputnik and Perry Como is over. Alicia Silverstone is a post-feminist woman who learns from him that pre-feminist women had some things going for them. Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek as Fraser’s parents are comic gems.

Hube adds: A mildly enjoyable film; however, it made such an "impact" on me that I've largely forgotten anything about it. One noteworthy comedic scene: When a fresh-out-of-the-fallout shelter Fraser sees a black woman on the street, he exclaims "Look, a Negro!" Guaranteed to evoke a wince and a laugh at the same time.

#8: "JUNO." NRO says:

The best pro-life movies reach beyond the church choirs and influence the wider public. "Juno" was a critical and commercial success. It didn’t set out to deliver a message on abortion, but much of its audience discovered one anyway. The story revolves around a 16-year-old who finds a home for her unplanned baby. The film has its faults, including a number of crass moments and a pregnant high-school student with an unrealistic level of self-confidence. Yet it also exposes a broken culture in which teen sex is dehumanizing, girls struggle with “choice,” and boys aimlessly try — and sometimes downright fail — to become men. The movie doesn’t glamorize much of anything but leaves audiences with an open-ended chance for redemption.

Hube adds: My wife and [teen] daughter watched this together, and I watched it shortly thereafter on their recommendation. It is a surprisingly worthy film. The complexities of the teen pregnancy issue are dealt with realistically, and the film isn't preachy or whiny. In fact, it's downright thought-provoking and emotional. No wonder it won an Oscar for best screenplay.


Based on the life of self-made millionaire Chris Gardner (Will Smith), this film provides the perfect antidote to Wall Street and other Hollywood diatribes depicting the world of finance as filled with nothing but greed. After his wife leaves him, Gardner can barely pay the rent. He accepts an unpaid internship at a San Francisco brokerage, with the promise of a real job if he outperforms the other interns and passes his exams. Gardner never succumbs to self-pity, even when he and his young son take refuge in a homeless shelter. They’re black, but there’s no racial undertone or subtext. Gardner is just an incredibly hard-working, ambitious, and smart man who wants to do better for himself and his son.

#6: "GROUNDHOG DAY." NRO says:

This putatively wacky comedy about Bill Murray as an obnoxious weatherman cursed to relive the same day over and over in a small Pennsylvania town, perhaps for eternity, is in fact a sophisticated commentary on the good and true. Theologians and philosophers across the ideological spectrum have embraced it. For the conservative, the moral of the tale is that redemption and meaning are derived not from indulging your “authentic” instincts and drives, but from striving to live up to external and timeless ideals. Murray begins the film as an irony-soaked narcissist, contemptuous of beauty, art, and commitment. His journey of self-discovery leads him to understand that the fads of modernity are no substitute for the permanent things.

#5: "300." NRO says:

During the Bush years, Hollywood neglected the heroism of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan—but it did release this action film about martial honor, unflinching courage, and the oft-ignored truth that freedom isn’t free. Beneath a layer of egregious non-history—including goblin-like creatures that belong in a fantasy epic—is a stylized story about the ancient Battle of Thermopylae and the Spartan defense of the West’s fledgling institutions. It contrasts a small band of Spartans, motivated by their convictions and a commitment to the law, with a Persian horde that is driven forward by whips. In the words recorded by the real-life Herodotus: “Law is their master, which they fear more than your men, [Xerxes,] fear you.”

Hube adds: This Frank Miller screen adaptation features perfectly sculpted Spartan soldiers (and their likewise perfectly formed wives!), but hey, it is a graphic novel adaptation after all. Persian leader Xerxes comes across as an effeminate magician while Gerard Butler's Leonidas psyches up his fellow (300) superhero-ish Spartans with an appeal -- and zeal -- to the values of freedom, sacrifice, family and honor. Leonidas and co. ultimately fall, but boy -- do they make the Persians pay!

#4: "FORREST GUMP." NRO says:

It won an Oscar for best picture—beating "Pulp Fiction," a movie that’s far more expressive of Hollywood’s worldview. Tom Hanks plays the title character, an amiable dunce who is far too smart to embrace the lethal values of the 1960s. The love of his life, wonderfully played by Robin Wright Penn, chooses a different path; she becomes a drug-addled hippie, with disastrous results. Forrest’s IQ may be room temperature, but he serves as an unexpected font of wisdom. Put ’em on a Whitman’s Sampler, but Mama Gump’s famous words about life’s being like a box of chocolates ring true.

Hube adds: I couldn't have said it any better than NRO. Or, perhaps even more succinctly, "often, the simplest solution is the best solution."


Whit Stillman’s Oscar-nominated debut takes a red-headed outsider into the luxurious drawing rooms and debutante balls of New York’s Upper East Side elite. One character, a committed socialist, falls for the discreet charm of the urban haute bourgeoisie. Another plaintively theorizes the inevitable doom of his class. A reader of Jane Austen wonders what’s wrong with a novel’s having a virtuous heroine. And a roguish defender of standards and detachable collars delivers more sophisticated conservative one-liners than a year’s worth of Yale Party of the Right debates. With mocking affection, gentle irony, and a blizzard of witty dialogue, Stillman manages the impossible: He brings us to see what is admirable and necessary in the customs and conventions of America’s upper class.


This animated film skips pop-culture references and gross jokes in favor of a story that celebrates marriage, courage, responsibility, and high achievement. A family of superheroes—Mr. Incredible, his wife Elastigirl, and their children—are living an anonymous life in the suburbs, thanks to a society that doesn’t appreciate their unique talents. Then it comes to need them. In one scene, son Dash, a super-speedy runner, wants to try out for track. Mom claims it wouldn’t be fair. “Dad says our powers make us special!” Dash objects. “Everyone is special,” Mom demurs, to which Dash mutters, “Which means nobody is.”


“I think that this is the best movie I ever saw,” said William F. Buckley Jr. upon leaving the theater (according to his column on the film). The tale, set in East Germany in 1984, is one part romantic drama, one part political thriller. It chronicles life under a totalitarian regime as the Stasi secretly monitors the activities of a playwright who is suspected of harboring doubts about Communism. Critics showered the movie with praise and it won an Oscar for best foreign-language film (it’s in German). More Buckley: “The tension mounts to heart-stopping pitch and I felt the impulse to rush out into the street and drag passersby in to watch the story unfold.”

Hube adds: As a foreign language teacher, I love watching FL movies. I happened upon this film on a cable movie channel several months ago and became quickly transfixed. I've never seen a film so perfectly capture the drab, dank and plain ambience of a Communist society, complete with its pervasive paranoia and depressive moments of personal introspection. Ulrich Mühe is sensational as Stasi Captain Gerd Wiesler, torn between his loyalty to the totalitarian East German state, and his morally corrupt "mission" of "proving" the disloyalty of playwright. You can guess which wins out, but not without consequences.

Posted by Hube at February 21, 2009 09:49 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

So now we have Conservative flicks, as if Conservatives have some kind of a monopoly on family values. Outrageous!

Posted by: Perry at February 21, 2009 01:03 PM

What's on your movie list, Perry? Probably Che, W, Sicko and The International.

Posted by: G Rex at February 21, 2009 02:14 PM

Grand Torino is Clint's best work.

At a time when most hollywood offerings are comic books, Eastwood provides liturature.

Yes Perry, Conservative values like honor, commitment, truth, courage.

Posted by: anoni at February 21, 2009 02:46 PM

Those aren't only Conservative values, anoni, they are universal values!

Posted by: Perry at February 23, 2009 08:53 AM

Those aren't only Conservative values, anoni, they are universal values!

And which Leftists in your universe valued honor when they betrayed the Vietnamese and Iraqis? Any of em friends of yours or is this just a theoretical ploy?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at March 17, 2009 04:45 PM