Movie Mini-Review: The Decalogue, Part I

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Decalogue, Part I, is one of those "arty" films which does not deign to explain to explain to its audience what is being shown. In an opening scene we meet an apparently homeless man sitting in the cold winter on the side of a pond. Who is he? We never find out.

The basic story is that a father has a son and the mother is absent. Where is she? We never find out, though it seems that she has died and the son is concerned with the nature of death. His father, the rational scientist, tells his son that it is the end, that nothing happens, that life is over. His sister, the Catholic believer, tells the boy tales of God and heaven. The father is then punished by God for his belief in science with the loss of his son. Such stories rub me entirely the wrong way. The movie is as transparently manipulative of our emotions as anything Hollywood has ever produced, but rather than entertaining or uplifting us, it seeks to stuff a stern moral lesson down our skeptical throats. I do not believe in a God who believes that I should not think, that the rational human mind must be punished, and harshly at that. There's nothing like having repugnant religious sensibilities pushed down one's throat for discovering one's own religious beliefs. My God believes in thinking, in eternal laws, in progress, science, and the betterment of mankind. Not in primitive submission to His petty vengeance.

Give me Back to the Future any day of the week.

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