Saturday, February 05, 2005
It's been said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Why write about music when you can listen to it? The same may seem to be true of movies--isn't the point to watch them, not to read about them. Roy Anker shows just how wrong this statement is. In 13 florid essays, he illuminates the spiritual narratives of some of the most memorable films of the modern era, from The Godfather trilogy to the stories of Steven Spielberg. His insights go far deeper than reflexive announcement that the protagonist is a Christ figure. Instead, Anker sheds light on how these modern-day mythologies function as "parables of hope," captivating us not only with their images and special effects, but with their truly theological themes: depravity and epiphany in American Beauty, redemption in The Mission, the incarnation in Superman, providence in Grand Canyon, truth's triumph over the principalities and powers in Star Wars. But Anker's vivid writing is anything but preachy; he embeds keen observation in some gorgeous sentences. There are many good movie reviewers out there, but few good essayists about movies. Anker is one of the best.