Behind Enemy Lines (2001)
I forgot about this movie!
No idea why I clump all these in my head. Probably because most of the have the word “Enemy” in the title lol. Or maybe because they’re all strangely-aesthetic late 90’s macho action movies. 🤷
Behind Enemy Lines isn’t great but it has a few things I wanna suck from the skull of this movie and into the psychic membranes of my own creative toolbox ... like the Brain Bug in Starship Troopers. 😎
The one scene I legitimately thought was interesting was the inciting incident —
The missile shoot down of Owen Wilson’s fighter jet.
It’s edited in a high tension manner that holds up in entertainment value even 20 years later.
The near misses, the re-introduction of the problem just as it appears to be solved, how you root for them to get away from it even though you know it’s literally impossible because the fuckin’ movie is called Behind Enemy Lines ... It’s immersive shit.
I also love the way nothing happens in that movie.
Instead, the opposite of the desired outcome occurs first… We settle in the despair of the opposite result ... And THEN the the desired outcome happens. After a while it’s funny expecting this narrative device. However, it definitely works on some automatic level.
There’s also a lot of fork in the roads.
Two possibilities, two paths, open up. Both are difficult choices. But one is way more difficult... yet will also reveal one’s character to be heroic / noble / etc. Or the opposite for the villains — Two paths open up: one difficult, one way more difficult ... yet the one they choose (of either) reveals how villainous they truly are. This seems to be the preferred method of revealing character in this movie. It’s a solid technique.
It also adds way more drama to a scene. Much like how nothing “just happens”, by having a fork in the road of destiny open up, as opposed to just making (or not making) one obvious choice, the tension of the scene dramatically (lol) increases.
Finally, in the case of many Hollywood films, characters live or die based on their perceived morality.
But this morality is “decided” by us the movie viewers... And unfortunately, this morality tends to be rooted in the ideological schema or what I call “Poor People Logic”. I loose define this as the tendency to pander to the lower classes by the elite upper classes, providing a false sense of escape from an otherwise dreary & hopeless existence. The ultimate function is to keep people poor.
In the mostly egregious example in this film is when pilot dies. The staging of his death is clearly centered around how he goofed dodging the missile, etc. Meritocracy, ammirite?