Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Joseph Goebbels would be proud of “White House Down.”
Not necessarily Goebbels the Nazi (though the film dovetails well with the goals of the National Socialist German Workers Party in its early, 1920s days), but Goebbels the expert in the art of propaganda. I’m sure he would applaud his craft being applied so spectacularly.
Not since the latest Matt Damon movie have I a seen a film so steeped in leftist worldview, mushy thinking, willful ignorance and vilification of all things remotely “right” or Republican.
And it’s too bad. For the “cake” of the movie is some fun, summer escapism, a “‘Die Hard’ at the White House” plot very much like this year’s “Olympus Has Fallen,” but with more charismatic actors, endearing characters and witty one-liners. Most of this movie is action, suspense and entertainment, even if a measure of preposterousness has to be swallowed to enjoy it all.
But the “frosting” smeared all over this flick is pure, leftist propaganda.
To begin with, it should be noted that the political characters in this terrorists-take-over-the-White-House plot are obvious references to their real-life counterparts. President “Sawyer,” for example, is a charming, black leftist with beloved basketball shoes, a fashionable wife touring Europe, a teenage daughter and a smoking habit he tries to keep under wraps. He preaches helping the poor as the answer to violence, has pledged to bring the troops home from war and is determined to forge peace deals with the Muslim nations of the Mideast.
Not only is he a clear picture of Obama (or what leftists wish Obama was like), but the actor portraying him, Jamie Foxx, even channels the sitting president in some of his speeches.
And, oh, the speeches.
Most films set in D.C. have the good sense to merely reference political speeches, make them part of the backdrop. But “White House Down” uses the movie as a platform to make sure we sit and listen to them, as they drone on with the foolhardy belief that if we just withdraw our troops and throw money at the Middle East, it will solve Islamic violence. Just give Iran money and stop provoking its people, and suddenly 1,400 years of religious warfare will melt in the resulting unicorn rainbows.
And if you think otherwise, the movie clearly implies (or rather, outright states), you are either a dangerous racist or an evil corporation in bed with both the military and Islamic radicals in order to perpetuate war profits.
Yes, the bad guys in “White House Down,” the villains who bomb D.C. and take over the White House (there’s no spoiler in telling you), are described as “the military-industrial complex,” “right-wing sociopaths,” “ex-military,” “racists” and “white-power hate bloggers” that the administration has already identified as “credible threats” but apparently didn’t have the guts to round up.
The film also gives us a parody of President “Sawyer’s” white, in-over-his-head, silver-haired, afterthought vice president (sound like some Joe you know?), a sniveling, whining, idiotic talk show host clearly meant to mimic Rush Limbaugh and a dorky, Republican speaker of the House who has a bad case of the sniffles.
Oh, and people from Nebraska are overweight, tabloid-addicted dunces – probably because they aren’t sophisticated enough to live on one of the left coasts.
Seriously, I wonder if the filmmakers, as some reviews have suggested, were actually just goofing off, ala “Saturday Night Live,” in the creation of these parody characters.
But the movie doesn’t indicate it’s a joke. By all accounts it’s serious. It honestly suggests that if the U.S. were attacked for wanting to help “build infrastructure” in the Middle East that the Sunnis, Shiites, Saudis, Syrians, Iranians, Palestinians, Russians and Israelis would all just set aside their differences in the sheer humanity of it all.
I know these Hollywood actors aren’t living in the real world. They live in the phony lights of Tinseltown. But apparently, they aren’t even living on the same planet as the rest of us.
And by the end of the film, when the real mastermind behind the terror plot in “White House Down” is revealed (that would be a spoiler), it’s clear this isn’t a movie in the traditional sense at all. It’s socialist worker’s party propaganda, pure and simple.
“White House Down,” rated PG-13, contains roughly 80 profanities and obscenities, many strong, though there’s only one “F-word.”
The film has only a few instances of sexuality, including a woman flirting with the lead character, asking him to “go for second base” on their next date, and a scene in which an infrared scan of an apartment building reveals two figures having sex, though only heat signatures – and thus no explicit nudity – is seen.
For a PG-13 film, “White House Down” is exceptionally violent, however. Gun fights, fistfights, rockets, murders, explosions, car crashes and body counts pile up in the heavy action fighting. The film doesn’t dwell on gore or particularly gruesome deaths, thus barely preserving its rating, but it does reveal the main characters bruised and bloodied from their various run-ins with their enemies.
The film has some minor religious and occult content, such as public officials being sworn in on a Bible and phrases like, “so help me God,” “I swear to God” and “God bless us all.” In addition, a character places a figurine on his desk and says, “Sweet Shiva,” though the figurine is not clearly seen, so it could be a reference to either the Hindu deity Shiva or the video game character Sheeva.