Stripsearched in China

chinastripsearch.jpg
Chinese interrogation (click to enlarge)

The New York Times describes HBO’s latest movie, Strip Search, as — are you ready? — “an intensely earnest, painfully wrongheaded film” that “tries to sound an alarm about the erosion of civil liberties under the Patriot Act by likening the detention of a Muslim immigrant in the United States to that of an American student in China.”

I really can’t think of a dumber plot for a movie. Based on what I know, I’ll take being detained in America any day, Patriot Act or not.

The problem is not just that this kind of melodramatic moral equivalency is silly and specious. (Dissent, terrorism — what’s the difference, really?) The most tendentious point in “Strip Search” is Glenn Close. As a federal investigator intent on wringing a confession from the Muslim suspect, the slithering star of “Fatal Attraction” is a hundred times more menacing and scary than any bullying Chinese military interrogator. One glimpse of Ms. Close in action (“But who am I, just a lowly cog in a rusting wheel,” she whispers silkily, “ignored, unappreciated”), and viewers can only conclude that even without air-conditioning or habeas corpus, a suspect is much better off in Communist China.

I wish I had HBO, because the movie sounds like an unintentional hoot.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 4 Comments

there is something attractive about that girl. and there is something unattractive about that girl.

April 29, 2004 @ 10:06 am | Comment

Indeed.

Man that movie sucked.

June 6, 2004 @ 10:02 pm | Comment

I saw the movie. As a movie, it was bad. As a political commentary, it was excellent. It asks several times how much “freedom” you would surrender if it would stop “terrorists”; most people are quite happy to take those same freedoms from someone (anyone) else.

September 5, 2005 @ 9:25 pm | Comment

Just to say hellow!

September 16, 2005 @ 6:58 am | Comment

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