By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Film Critic Adam Nayman

“When I first wrote about Ben Wheatley in that piece on Kill List for Cinema Scope, I just remember finishing it and thinking that I can’t wait to see this guy’s next film and to write on it. The book in some ways was born there, just by thinking, ‘What an interesting career to keep tabs on.’ To your question about why write a book, timing has a lot to do with it. Let’s put it this way: there are no two films that I’ve had more anxiety to sit and watch than High-Rise and Free Fire. When I started writing it I hadn’t even seen High-Rise. When I finished I’d just barely seen Free Fire. Now there’s this rumor that Wheatley may be doing a Frank Miller adaptation for Warner Bros. But when the opportunity came about, I thought it was exciting to write about a young director whose career is still in formation. This is not to compare Wheatley to Godard or me to Richard Roud, but Roud wrote book-length texts on directors like Godard in the mid-60s. There’s something to be said about an early career overview, getting in on the ground floor. It’s a matter of deciding that the subject is worth it. If Wheatley’s body of work remains interesting and he becomes as major a figure as I suspect he could, it’s the satisfaction of becoming part of the received wisdom. Whereas the Showgirls book was the inverse of that, an attempt to overcome the received wisdom by taking a long, hard look in the rearview mirror at something.”
~ Film Critic Adam Nayman

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“The purpose of film isn’t to present the kindness of the world.”
~ Isabelle Huppert

The Promised Land steers into the fact that the United States can mean whatever people want it to mean. You may not be able to be Elvis, but you can sure as shit impersonate him for a living. America, like its current President (at least as of this article’s publication), is so dangerous precisely because it’s a blank canvas on which anyone can project their dreams. Whatever it is that you see for yourself, there’s someone you can pay for the pleasure of believing that it’s possible. In his view, the pursuit of happiness is the ultimate con, a delusion that prevents us from seeing our circumstances for what they are.

“Forget the Matrix, it’s the invention of happiness that blinded us to the truth. The rich got richer and the poor help them do it. Jarecki doesn’t argue that the American Dream is dead; he argues that it was never alive in the first place — that we were all lobsters in a pot full of water that was boiling too slowly for any of us to notice. And now it’s time for dinner. Donald J. Trump is the President of the United States. Elvis has left the building.”
~ David Ehrlich