In a world where the undead are waiting around every corner to tear you limb from limb, naturally you have worries more pressing than trying to penetrate the brooding aloofness of Mr Darcy. And yet, Elizabeth Bennet's dexterity in destroying zombies leaves her able to ponder the trivial moments of her life; not that potential marriage is regarded as such within the Bennet household. Elizabeth's parents are determined to wed their daughters to some wealthy newcomers, and while she isn't the prettiest of her sisters, her down-to-earth and bookish nature is enough to catch Mr Darcy's eye. But this isn't a straight-forward relationship; this couple have a lot of feelings to unlock while defending each other against flesh-eating fiends. Let's just hope death doesn't get in the way of what could truly be a match made in heaven.
Not only is this documentary a superbly well-assembled biography of the notorious author-commentator, but it's also a bracingly clear-eyed look at the America most people don't want to admit exists. The late Gore Vidal was a thorn in society, using his snappy intelligence to speak the truth even if it left him persona non grata. But when asked about his legacy, he famously replied, "I couldn't care less."
This echoes in his main message that America is resolutely ignoring its own history. "We miraculously forget everything," he said. "The lessons we should be learning we will have forgotten in no time at all." But history was his passion, as he wrote novels, plays, films and essays about the USA's evolution from a republic to an empire. No one wanted to hear this, even as he astutely noted how the nation essentially turned into a military monolith after WWII, and then became even more driven after 9/11, waging war without provocation or respect for any other country while using the Patriot Act to remove fundamental rights of habeas corpus and due process at home.
Filmmaker Wrathall packs the film with interview footage, allowing Vidal to narrate his own story and deliver his own lacerating comments (there's also narration from his literary executor Parini). And the screen is littered with Vidal's pithy, eerily astute remarks about politics ("Our form of democracy is bribery on the highest scale") and life in general ("Love is a fan club with only two fans"). This is all set within the framework of Vidal's life story. Descended from a long line of authors, politicians and innovators, he was raised to be a deep, free thinker. So it's no wonder that he took on society's "basic values", which he knew were false notions of what is natural.
Continue reading: Gore Vital: The United States Of Amnesia Review
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