I submit that all people, regardless of how rational they claim to be, ultimately form their worldview solely in the context of story.
A man’s beliefs aren’t nearly so propositional as they are an extension of the narratives he’s come to accept are true – the stories about his country and the politicians that have shaped it, the stories of his experience of the world and the story of how his god (or perceived absence of God) has influenced his life.
This is why President Obama so frequently tells stories of the uninsured to sell his health-care “crisis” and why his autobiographies were key to his election as a man of “hope” – the left has figured out that a good story is twice as persuasive as the facts.
This is why the left is so adamant that the United States was not founded as “a Christian nation,” but some sort of secular, humanist experiment – because by changing the story of the Founders, they can freely change the Constitution’s clear intent and thus remake the nation in their own image.
This is why a man who grows up in the Bible Belt but who had bad experiences with hypocrites in church will refute all obvious evidence of the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ to embrace atheism instead. His personal narrative trumps even his spirit’s most desperate longings.
And this is also why God Word’s is essentially a story, the progressive revelation of God through His work in His people – because the narrative of Creation, the Fall, the personal redemption of those that would receive Him and the eventual restoration of all creation gives believers an powerful foundation for both their worldview and their faith.
If we embrace a story, we believe its message even when “the evidence of things seen” would contradict it. A good story, at its best, unleashes the God-given artistry of the narrative; at worst, it can be manipulated as a twisted technique for brainwashing.
Which said, at last enables me to move into the review of “Unstoppable,” an exhilarating, heroic, edge-of-your-seat thriller that combines nail-biting suspense, solid acting and even laugh-out-loud humor into a crowd pleaser of a film well worth an evening’s entertainment … if, that is, you can recognize and dismiss the subtle way in which Hollywood’s leftist agenda is woven into the story.
“Unstoppable” is the tale of an accident that sends a million tons of train on an unmanned trip down the line, speeding out of control into populated areas at 70 miles per hour. Given the hazardous chemicals in the train’s payload, it’s no wonder the yardmaster refers to train 777 as “a missile the size of the Chrysler Building.”
After multiple attempts at stopping the runaway train fail, two railroaders – a 28-year veteran played by Denzel Washington and a young trainee played by Chris Pine of “Star Trek” fame – try to chase down the locomotive from behind, before 777 derails in heavily-populated Stanton, Pa.
And for the most part, that’s all the movie’s narrative is about – a couple of guys risking life and limb against all odds to save others. It’s mostly fun and exciting, heart-pounding action.
But even in a simple action flick, the lefties in Hollywood can’t help but reveal their worldview in the telling of their story, by retelling a portion of the anti-capitalist narrative they’ve come to swallow as truth.
About halfway through the film, for example, the railroad executives are forced to decide whether to derail the train in a safer, rural area (which would destroy the train but preserve human life) or hope to stop it before it hits the city.
Eventually the decision comes down to the CEO’s call. The CEO who is … wait for it … playing golf. The CEO who makes his decision based on … are you ready for this? … stock prices.
The filmmakers draw upon and reinforce the socialist narrative’s archetype – the evil, greedy, elite capitalist who cares more about money than human life, big businessmen who are by nature callous and unfeeling – reflecting an ingrained belief about capitalism and lurking class warfare that may not even be intentional, but seems as obvious to the leftist as making the movie’s sky blue.
And just to rub in the point, when a middle manager expresses surprise that Denzel Washington’s character would risk his life for the company, the hero makes the pointed remark, “Not for you. I’m not doing this for you.”
Of course not. He’s not a “company” man, he’s a hero.
Fortunately, however, the socialist worldview takes the stage of “Unstoppable” for only a brief cheap shot, before being pushed aside by the heart-pounding plot.
To most of the undiscerning audiences watching “Unstoppable,” the brief socialist interlude will simply create an image, a feeling, an almost subconscious, underlying narrative that will shape their worldviews to define heroism as fighting against big, uncaring companies.
But for you and me, the surest way to resist brainwashing narratives is to recognize them for what they are, dismiss them, and – in the case of “Unstoppable” – get on with enjoying the movie.
- “Unstoppable” contains a few dozen obscenities and blasphemies, enough to merit its PG-13 rating, but not so many that it significantly distracts from the dialogue. One character also makes an obscene gesture.
- The film contains a few shots of scantily clad folks, including a brief, lusty music video, a shirtless man and a couple of scenes in a Hooters restaurant, one of which allows the camera to linger on a waitress’ legs and behind.
- “Unstoppable” includes car crashes, scenes of the train destroying things in its path and people being injured in its wake. Otherwise there is no “violence” between persons.
- The film contains no religious or occult content, not even people praying in light of the imminent danger.