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Those Who Deliberately Won’t See

1,170 words

Bird Box (2018)
Directed by Susanne Bier
Starring Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, & John Malkovich

Netflix’s 2018 movie Bird Box is a hit. The movie has had more than forty million viewers in its first weeks, and its images have led to a host of Internet memes from clever keyboard jokers. The movie is a standard apocalypse film – man versus the supernatural – but there are some twists. In this case, the monsters in Bird Box are never seen. If the characters in the film see the creature, they are compelled to kill themselves, unless they are insane. But before reading any further, note that there will be spoilers in this review, and that I will only discuss the film and not the book.

The movie has great acting, solid pacing, and the foreshadowing and most of its plausibility issues are decently dealt with. The movie has several parallels with George Romero’s zombie classics Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Dawn of the Dead (1978). As in the former, a group of strangers must shelter in a house, and as in the latter, they end up in a well-stocked shopping center. In Bird Box, the movie offers a good reason as to why the survivors leave the well-stocked shopping center and return to their house.

The movie has two separate plotlines with two different climaxes. The first is the story of how the survivors get along during the apocalypse. Its climax occurs when a recent arrival to the house turns out to be one of the group of people who are insane, who find the creatures beautiful, and wish to show them to others regardless of the fatal consequences to a sane person. This part of the plot is shown through flashbacks. The second is about how Malorie (Sandra Bullock) takes Boy (Julian Edwards) and Girl (Vivien Lyra Blair) down a river in a boat to a utopian refuge.

A Deeply Serious Movie

This movie is very serious, despite the funny memes it has generated. Its popularity is in no small part due to how its underlying themes fit into the tense metapolitical climate into which it was released. In the survivors-in-the-house part of the film, with one exception, all of the people are impeccable multicultural liberals. One can easily imagine all of the women posting feminist talking points on their Facebook walls and insisting that Michelle Obama is “the most beautiful woman ever!” There are also two black men – one nerdy and cerebral, Charlie (Lil Rel Howery), and the other, Tom (Trevante Rhodes), who is quite manly. There is one Gaysian (B. D. Wong), and a white couple whose purpose is to make a sex scene possible and then run off with the car so that Malorie and the kids must use a boat to get to the refuge.

Douglas (John Malkovich) is the only exception among this politically correct bunch, and acts as their shepherd. He is a grumpy white man who has had three marriages, has filed a lawsuit against the Gaysian and his (unseen) husband, and knows how to handle a gun. This dynamic is comparable to “the Coalition of the Fringes” political Left during those times when that political grouping works.

Bird Box should be seen in the same light as films like Get Out (2017). In the latter film, one sees the breakup of the Obama Coalition expressed artistically as rich whites in the Connecticut suburbs are shown to be exploiting and stealing “black bodies.” Bird Box is a far more serious artistic representation of the breakup of the Leftist, multicultural coalition. In this case, the participants see something which shatters their worldview and then kills them, so they must deliberately avoid seeing it and move to the implausible refuge in the forest.

In the real world, Leftist multiculturalism doesn’t work. The most politically correct anti-racist whites live as far from blacks as possible, and know in their bones that their worldview is false. And yet they go along with this charade with devotion that can only be understood if one sees it as a religion. A person losing one’s faith can be like dying, in many ways. In today’s environment, the mid-grade multiculturalist might feel that should he even take a peek at our ideas, his faith will be shaken to the core. This film is an admission that the ideas of the racially-aware Right are circulating in society; everyone knows it, and a great many people are choosing not to acknowledge it.

Black & White Characters

On the surface, Bird Box can be seen as anti-white. There are two heroic black characters, and all the villains look like Trump supporters. But there is another interpretation of this first, most excellent film from the Age of Trump: it can be seen as an admission of many pro-white truths. For example, as the apocalypse begins in the United States, the President closes the borders. While it is clear in the context of the story that closing the borders is locking the barn after the horses have already been stolen, this is an allegorical admission that closing the borders is a natural response to an immigration crisis.

The next part of the film deals with white supremacy in relation to Douglas. He quickly becomes critical for the survival of those in the house. Douglas makes all the best suggestions, and states that “assholes” survive, while those who aren’t “assholes” don’t – something which is true. When the stranger, Gary (Tom Hollander), arrives, it is Douglas who tries to stop him from joining the community. (Again, with the border security.) He is stopped by Cheryl (Jacki Weaver), who seems to be a sort of feminist cat lady. In the end, it is Douglas who heroically dies saving Malorie and the two babies as Gary rampages. Interestingly, the bald, grumpy, older white father character in Night of the Living Dead is also the one who comes up with the correct survival strategy – retreating to the basement and awaiting the cavalry – even though his suggestion is tragically ignored. The fact that two different movies have such similar characters is a big admission regarding how the world actually works.

Bird Box also shows the limitations of its black characters. All the human antagonists can be interpreted as white Trump supporters, and they are all unsavory. Both blacks, Charlie and Tom, are clearly the good guys. However, if Bird Box had black antagonists, the movie would automatically become something like a racial-warning public service film, and public service films are preachy and boring. Pit black characters as antagonists against white characters, and the film stops being an analogy for the impact of ideas. Blacks in films can be God, a janitor, or a hero, but not a complex villain expressing serious concepts. Additionally, Boy and Girl are white, and Malorie and Tom have not had a mixed-race child together. If such a pairing had occurred, Bird Box would have had twenty million fewer viewers, at least. Most find miscegenation distasteful, but nobody opens their eyes to this reality.

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8 Comments

  1. Wanred
    Posted January 30, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Figured I’d give it a try because it seems to be well-liked here. It featured Sandra Bullock which is usually a plus for me.

    I can usually tell a Netflix production by its forced ‘diversity’ when it comes to cast and its insistence on depicting interracial relationships as the norm and this movie does not disappoint! I think I saw everything come by except for perhaps a paraplegic transsexual. Obviously, room for improvement. Are you reading this, Netflix?

    When I saw the little romance between Sandra Bullock and Trevante Rhodes I couldn’t help but think of all the pornstars who apparently have more integrity than Bullock by refusing to do interracial scenes so you might want to skip the 1:28 – :1:29 mark and 1:35 – 1:36 if you still want to respect her in the morning.

    The movie isn’t all that bad if you can look beyond the cast. The choices they make are not done by human beings but instead by your typical arch-types and there are two annoying kids in there who can’t act but other than that, quite a decent horror flick.

    So, thanks for the review! Keep ’em coming.

  2. Yock
    Posted January 29, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    I never understood reviews of Night of the Living Dead that said Romero was portraying the Pennsyltucky gun toters as bad or “problematic.” I can’t produce one of those reviews now but remember years ago reading a bunch of them. Having seen the movie about 6 times as a kid but not in the last 30 years or so, maybe my memory is not right, but I remember that those zombie killers seemed like heroes, as portrayed by Romero. They were competent cavalry, and also seemed to be having a lot of fun. The only mistake they made was killing the black hero, but they didn’t kill him because they were racists, they just got carried away a bit, a little too zealous. All of those reviewers were wishful thinkers: “Romero is a creative person like me, so he MUST hate rural sons of the soil. I’ll ignore what I just saw. That’s the ticket.”

  3. Voryn Illidari
    Posted January 29, 2019 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    I will confess that I enjoyed the movie. I have found a way to look past the degenerate aspects, namely the interracial stuff, and appreciate the plot and characters. Sadly, I did not pick up on either the explicitly anti-White narrative that our circles are talking (See Blackpilled’s video) about OR the narrative explained in this article. I get very sucked into horror films, especially post-apocalyptic horror films, and get immersed in the story. I find myself intently and then impatiently waiting to find out exactly what the monster/villain/evil force really is. I like lore. One thing I notice about Netflix horror films is that they hardly ever fill you in on exactly what the evil power is or why it is there. Is it demons? Ghosts? Aliens? Tell me, damnit!
    On the wikipedia article about the book that the film was based on, it says that the evil is actually a pathogen transmitted through…ehmm..coprophagy, which is disappointing and disgusting.
    Anyway, I like the interpretation of this author.

    • Djuka
      Posted January 29, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      It might be easier that way, especially if you plan to build a long running franchise without any unifying narrative behind it. Like The Walking Dead. You just posit this generic Other as a threat, withou having to go into its origins or real nature or anything, and then focus on human drama for any individual movie or TV series.
      Anyway, have you seen the Jonathan Pageau vid about this flick? He’s a centrist Christian, but I think that his insight on movie’s politics strikes true.

      • Voryn Illidari
        Posted January 29, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        I’ll look into that video, thanks.

  4. Justinian
    Posted January 28, 2019 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    I found the premise of the film interesting although couldn’t initially see past the rather blatant anti-white and pro-miscegenation aspects. The portrayal of Tom as the heroic ‘man of colour’ is nauseating, and Malkovich’s character is portrayed to be so unlikable that it’s hard to step back and realise that he’s correct about nearly everything.

    That said, I remember watching at the time and thinking that the character of Gary (the insane intruder, portrayed by Tom Hollander) looked and acted very Jewish. It turns out that Hollander does indeed have Jewish ancestry on his father’s side. It’s probably not necessary to elaborate too much for most Counter Currents readers, although the way he acts like someone fleeing danger (or persecution) outside to elicit pity from the other characters and gain entry to the sanctuary, before opening the house to the demonic entities is another aspect of the film which could be drawn out.

  5. Mad Celt
    Posted January 28, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Actually, the film shows stupid people surviving stupidly. No one ever questions why the creatures never come inside or looks for a weakness in them related to that. No one tries to fight back. They accept defeat right off as if they have no natural ability to resist, just give in and hope not to die. God, save us from such pathetic excuses for human beings.

  6. Posted January 28, 2019 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Despite PC casting (interracial affair, nerdy black littérateur, Gay asian guy, etc.), I consider this film as one of a growing number of apocalyptic-themed films that act as a sort of pressure-release valve for (largely white) collective anxiety about mass immigration, and how it is dramatically changing our respective cultures. This is not to say the movie’s creators are conservatives, only that, for white libs, the brute reality of racial displacement may operate largely at a collective unconscious level.

    I immediately saw Douglas (John Malkovich) in the same way: while he’s the Old White Man hard-ass, he’s also the most resourceful of the lot, commanding to the others “Don’t let anyone in!”, the confines of the house and its locked doors a metaphor for borders. If the house’s inhabitants had followed his instructions, they would’ve stood much better odds at surviving.

    The fat cat lady doesn’t follow Douglas’ merciless, but rational, instructions. While the others are away or asleep, an infected man outside the front door successfully plays upon the fat cat lady’s vulnerabilities, pleading with her in a convincing act, exploiting her female pathological altruism.

    Once that door is opened, so to speak, all Hell breaks loose.

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