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SCREEN-L Archives

July 1994

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Subject:
From:
Robert Dickinson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Fri, 15 Jul 1994 23:55:01 -0700
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Re the LA Times review--True Lies is INDEED disturbing in its portrayal of
 women. Even though Jamie Lee Curtis' character does get a chance to go beyond
 the typical parameters of action film wifery, she and her daughter are finally
 reinstalled in the family with a nuclear vengence. (Not to get too far into
 spoiler territory, but I do mean Kiss Me Deadly/Total Recall-revisited
 nuclear.) There's still a considerable amount of Blue Steel-like pleasure to be
 found in the character's physical feats, yet the final preferred point would
 seem to prove Father Knows Better than we ever guessed. The father is the
 phallus--that's the film's Truest Lie.
 
Hate to say it, but for me the O.J. Simpson scenario makes intertextual ripples
 here too, particularly during the Curtis' character's interrogation scene.
 Schwarzenegger's character does receive a certain sort of physical punishment
 for his jealous actions, but still, the theatrical extremity of his actions
 suggests a very familiar form of violence toward "unfaithful" women. Accepting
 Schwarzenegger's Harry Tasker as a hero after all this may be a tad bit
 problematic after all this. Tom Arnold's presence in all this just ups the
 unsettling quotient.
But you know what the weirdest part was? It was watching Charlton Heston give
 orders as Schwarzenegger's boss. No, no, it was watching Schwarzenegger dance
 (not). No, it was ... yeah, there's plenty here to talk about here.