In This Together, by David Bax

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4 Responses

  1. Great review! I’m a big fan of the Wachowskis’ and when I first heard the premise of the film I thought it was very interesting concept. I listened to the audiobook and it is by far one of the best contemporary novels I’ve ever read.*

    David you probably hit upon one of the major themes of the film. I wouldn’t call it a “Leftist” story as much I would call it post-modern. In a sense this is one of the biggest problems that I have with the book. Post-modernism suggests that truth, or what we think of as the truth, is part of a larger meta-narrative that is influenced by those with power. It is not a worldview that is unique to the Left, which you can see if you look at the current manufactured controversies over climate change and evolution. But for decades postmodernism has been the major territory of the left. George Orwell’s 1984, many people don’t recognize it today, is a condemnation of the post-modernist view of the state that was championed by many Left-wing socialists and Communists of the 1940s.

    My biggest problem with the book, which I will assume will be carried over to the film, is the 1970s story. The pot-boiler story about an intrepid reporter who exposes malfeasance of in a nuclear power plant. I’ve spent that past several years of my life making a documentary film about nuclear power. It has given me the chance to interview journalists, engineers, scientists, executives, and citizen activists. And I must say that the anti-nuclear journalists are far FAR from the Luisa Rey character in the novel. In fact the anti-nuclear journalists that I have met are some of the most repulsive individuals I have ever met! I’ve written about this extensively on my blog, which you can view here if you wish:

    Thank you.


    *Though I don’t read too much contemporary fiction. The last novel I’ve read where author and I were alive at the same time was a book by Arthur C. Clark. I still have yet to finish Murakami’s Wined Up Bird Chronicle.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      I don’t think David Mitchell or the directors of the film are specifically condemning nuclear power. I think unethical corporate practices are the target. My feeling is that Mitchell likely chose a nuclear power plant because it was timely for the early to mid-1970’s setting of that story.

      – David

      • Just got back from watching the film and I need to say that it is even better that I could have anticipated! It is very different from the book which I am very happy with that. I probably would not have liked the film if it was a direct adaptation of the book, and plus that would have been impossible. One example Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly, which is a film that I admire a lot. Though the film stays pretty slavish adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel, to the point where the movie feels like little more than cliff notes for the book.

        They simplified many of the stories, while maintaining the themes and general arch of the characters. The Sonmi 451 story is less heavy-handed. I liked the fact that they decided to focus more on the relationship between Frobisher and Sixsmith and downplay the relationship between Frobisher and Ayrs. And what I liked best is that they changed Alberto Grimald from a nuclear industry executive to an Oil lobbyist posing as a nuclear industry executive to purposefully sabotage the nuclear power plant, in order to turn public opinion away from nuclear.

        The only things that I missed was that the book took time-out to allow it’s characters to explore ideas. What I loved the most about The Matrix movies is that the ideas existed as much for their own sake, just as much as the action existed for their own sake. I could see why the book appealed to the Wachowskis’. There is a glorious takedown of the idea of the “nobel savage” in the first few chapters of the book. And Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn plays an important roll in the movie that they felt it was necessary to give the roll to Susan Sarandon.

  2. Len says:

    Really enjoyed this movie, as well as David’s thoughtful review. But am puzzled by his characterization of the film as leftist. Totalitarianism (at least in the real world, as opposed to the movies) results from unchecked power of the state, not corporations. Hard to argue that the modern left is interested in constraining the power of the state. Also, since when does the idea that we are all in this together, that we all must work together, belong primarily to those on the left?

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