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May 1994


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Matt McAllister <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 31 May 1994 10:49:04 EDT
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A few idiosyncratic comments about "Sneakers":
The first time I saw the film, I did enjoy it as fairly
innocuous (sp?) entertainment.  But one big ideological
image really struck me; in fact, it struck me so
much that I have used a clip of it in my Intro to Communication
class as an example of Ideological Images in Media, focusing
on the celebration of capitalism (and, in turn, the denegration
of socialism) in such images.
In Sneakers, Ben Kinsley is the villian who steals a
computer box that can access any system in the world.
He obviously is a psychotic (in fact, at one point
Robert Redford explicitly says, "You ARE crazy" to him).
Kinsley's master plan is to erase every financial record
in existence with this box, thus "crashing the [capitalistic]
system," so that "there's no rich or poor.  Everyone's the
same."  In other words, he is a socialist (Meglomaniac
Mastermind Version).  He is so clearly crazy that the
equation of Socialist = Nutso Villian is easy to see.
In fact, the most outrageous manifestation of this
equation is the implication in the movie that Kinsley,
the crazy socialist, actually caused the Savings and
Loan scandal!  Thus, in the ideological web of this
film, a catastrophe in reality caused by excess capitalism is
actually attributed to a radical socialist.
My simplistic take on Sneakers.
Matt McAllister
Virginia Tech