Monday, 17 June 2019

Under Fire (1983)

"...It’s perhaps interesting to watch Under Fire in the week that British charity Comic Relief has announced its plan to cut back on celebrity appeals in the wake of what has become known as the ‘white saviour’ row, promising (rightfully in my view) to “give voices to people” who actually live and experience at first-hand the hardships of the third world instead. 2017 saw Ed Sheeran’s Comic Relief video appeal from Liberia  handed a ‘Rusty Radiator’ award the “most offensive and stereotypical fundraising video of the year”, whilst last year Stacey Dooley’s Instagram post featuring her cradling a Ugandan infant was criticised by Labour MP David Lammy as propagating “tired, harmful stereotypes”.

I mention this because the same kind of criticism could indeed be levelled at Hollywood’s long and disheartening practice of attempting to depict a very real story of conflict or struggle outside of America through the eyes of a white American character.  It’s as if they believe audiences cannot understand what is going on unless a white American A-lister is at any such film’s centre, and it’s not always confined to stories about the world outside of the US either; consider any number of films about the Afro-American experience that are inevitably told mainly from the perspective of the white community; The Help, Driving Miss Daisy, Green Book et-tedious-cetera.

Whilst it is fair to say that the Nicaragua-set Under Fire is yet another American movie that attempted to raise awareness or document the issues of a foreign country via Caucasian movie stars, it must get a free pass for the simple truth that it approached the story in a way that could only be told from the American perspective, because it is that perspective that finally brought about a change for the country...."

Read my full review at The Geek Show

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