Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fly With the Hawk

(Robert Tanos, 1985)
Personally I'd rather be lost in the woods - it couldn't possibly be this boring in real life. After extensive debriefing by a friendly trapper dude, bullied city kid Peter Snook walks, camps and lights a fire, then walks, camps and lights a fire again, for an entire winter, with nothing so much as an incident to show for it. When something finally does happen at the very end, though, it shows the production's hand. All those woodland survival skills, and all that gratuitously appropriated Indian iconography, was just a means to a normative end, so that the kid could trot on back to the civilization he left behind, redeemed by his new self-reliance, spared the slightest reckoning with the reform-school bullies and pigheaded administrators that inspired him to run away in the first place. This is bad ideology and bad dramatics, squandering every opportunity for conflict let alone insight; all life's problems are washed away by alternating beauty shots of trees and birds - exactly the kind of rampant longeuers that separate the wheat from the chaff in Emmeritus Productions' cockeyed universe. And just when you think they can't betray your trust an inch further, along comes the stupid twist ending.

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