America the Troubled

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It’s been a very violent and bloody week for this country. First a bloody ending to a national runners event that marred the day by killing and injuring innocent people taking part in the Boston Marathon and Patriot day.

That all occurred on the 15th of April this year.

Two days later, a fertiliser plant in the farming town of West, Texas exploded, killing 14 and the police are still sifting through the rubble to find casualties.

On the 18th of April, the first of two bombing suspects was shot and killed in a prolonged shoot-out with police.

Yesterday on the  19th of April, the second suspect was shot and captured.

America has had a very troubled and busy week in the violence and death department. The denizens of this troubled country can be forgiven for feeling a little abused at the moment.

I wrote a blog post on the day of the Boston Marathon bombings and raised the query of security forces spending too much time looking for evil within the borders of the USA. I felt that they were looking in the wrong place for terrorists.

I was wrong.

Sadly, this terror attack did indeed come from within.

But…

These two heinous and cowardly individuals did not originate in America. They were “immigrants” who came over with their families. According to initial reports, they’ve only lived in America for ten years.

Both, according to the news again, were recent Muslim converts.

The face of monsters.
The faces of monsters.

Oh boy. That’s going to rock the proverbial boat. As if Muslims did not have enough negative press already, they now have even more and I can imagine that Mr and Mrs America and their children won’t be inviting their next door followers of Islam over for a barbecue.

Another unsettling reason for the non-Muslim community to feel leery about this “foreign” religion and its violent outbursts against “the infidels.”

Overshadowed by Monday’s events is the explosion in Texas that took so many lives. Not – as far as I know – terrorist in nature, it is still an enormous tragedy and one that isn’t getting a lot of  media attention due to the Boston tragedy; at least not on this side of the big pond.

West Texas. Fires after the explosion.
West Texas. Fires after the explosion.

On top of the two explosive events, we have the news that guardians of justice move damned fast. Literally within days of the Boston outrage, both suspects have been dealt with. Of course the death of one and the injuring of the other, may make it difficult to find out why  these two monsters – Yes, monsters.  People do not indiscriminately murder in this fashion. – with the end result being one dead and one captured.

Suffice to say, I think I was wrong to denigrate the security forces and their head offices for watching the American people. It seems that what appeared to me as paranoia, was not.

Now it only remains for the authorities to find out why. Why killing innocent children and people was necessary and why the fertiliser plant exploded in Texas.

I cannot think of a more troubling week of events for America within her shores before. Certainly not that I can remember. Sure we’ve had international American tragedy before. Remember Jonestown? But that was outside the boundaries of the country and not on Main Street USA.

On Jonestown, I had a friend in the USAF who was at the New Jersey air base when the bodies were brought back. He was on body-bag detail. I cannot imagine the horror that must have been.

I close this puzzled post with prayers sent to all who have suffered loss in this last week. Loss of life, loss of family, friends and neighbours and loss of innocence. I also pray that we might find out that the horrid events of Boston were a “one-off” and that other recent converts to the Muslim religion who are US citizens aren’t so murderously inclined.

May the country of my birth breathe a sigh of relief now that the week-end has arrived and may my fellow countrymen rest a bit easier knowing that the keepers of the peace do seem to know what they are doing.

To the residents of both Boston and Texas I hope you can get closure for this violent and troubled week. And my the American people not be so scarred that they become xenophobic in action and thought.

And lastly, may the greatest free country in the world continue to be so and fly the flag proudly and safely.

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The Woman (2011): Nell With a Twist

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Lucky McKee directed and co-wrote (with author Jack Ketchum) The Woman; a film  that could be called Nell on acid. Although this is a sequel to the 2009 McKee film Offspring about a “tribe” of cannibals who roamed the north-east coast. The “woman” is the sole survivor of this tribe. But not having seen the film, I did not learn this from watching the feature. Wikipedia kindly supplied that information.

Like the 1994 film Nell, where a small town doctor (Liam Neeson) finds a “wild” hermit girl who has very limited social skills, The Woman features a male character who finds a “hermit-like” feral girl with very limited social skills. The main difference between the two films are that in Nell, Neeson’s character wants to help the girl.

The male in The Woman does not have help in mind when he captures the feral woman.

Vive le différence.

Of course the other connection between the two films is that the actor who plays Chris Cleek (Sean Bridgers) was also in Nell. Small world isn’t it? I’ve also got to say, it bothered the hell  out of me that Bridgers looked enough like Will Ferrell to be his twin brother.

The Woman opens with a wild and savage woman in the woods. She is feral and adept at hunting and fishing. She’s also Amazonian in stature and apparently quite strong. Chris Cleek goes out into the woods to hunt and stumbles across her.

He is obviously intrigued and makes plans to capture her. He succeeds in this and takes her captive. Unlike Nell, where the good doctor wants to study and help his “discovery,” Cleek wants to turn her into his and his son’s plaything. Something to torture and humiliate and abuse.

The Cleek family consists of Chris, wife Belle (Angela Bettis), daughters Peggy  (Lauren Ashley Carter) and Darlin’ (Shyla Molhusen) plus son Brian (Zach Rand). The family is all about what Chris wants. He is a class A pervert, control freak and hater of women. Son Brian, under his dad’s loving but controlling tutelage, is a chip off the old block.

While the woman is held captive in the old storm cellar, tensions rise as the whole family become involved with this wild creature and the school is getting concerned at the constant absence of Peggy from classes.

As the film moves disturbingly to it’s almost inevitable and anticipated finish, you will be hard pressed not to be disgusted at the way that head of the family Chris rules his family with an iron hand. The females of his family are terrified of him and not without cause.

While the woman he is holding captive in the cellar might be feral, he is a monster and son Brian a monster in-training.

Not the real monster in this story.
Not the real monster in this story.

When the film premiered in the US, there was some controversy about the subject matter and the way that women were treated and depicted in the film. I seem to remember charges of sensationalism being levied as well. But considering that director Lucky McKee was not above generating any kind of publicity for his film, I don’t know how much credence can be given to any of these charges.

As for myself, I couldn’t for the life of me decide whether the filmmakers were making an anti-feminist sort of statement or were awkwardly trying to make some sort of empowering statement for women!

The climax is shocking, but not surprising. It is bloody and savage and well worth the wait. But having said that, it is still confusing. It is a powerful film and a shocking and disturbing one.

I would give the film a 3.5 stars out of 5 only because it was very different. Not having seen the prequel of Offspring, I have no idea if continuity was good or bad. I only know that for the most part, I found the film very distasteful and kept watching to see if some sort of justice would be served.

A film that is definitely not for everyone. But if you can stand it, it is on Netflix at the moment.

Not nearly as violent or disturbing...
Not nearly as violent or disturbing…