Friday, June 22, 2012

The Wicker Man (1973)

This is not a review. This is a personal opinion masked as just another blog-rant about one of the best movies ever made.

Robin Hardy's classic thriller, The Wicker Man, really doesn't belong on Ninja Dixon - it's way to famous, to classic, to brilliant and not underrated - it's a respected masterpiece. But tonight I want to do an exception. I've seen it many times over the years, from VHS to two DVD's, both the UK special edition and the US wooden box. When the BD is released I'll buy it also. Of course.

I've been thinking to re-watch for quite a while now, mostly because I read a review earlier this year with the words "The Wicker Man is a movie about the clash of two religions", or something similar. These words got to me, they irritated me. They made me actually pissed off. Why? Because it's NOT about the clash of two religions. There's never anything about a clash, or a fight, or a whatever.

The Wicker Man is about one superior and older religion totally owning the other religion, and the other religion is of course that newbie called Christianity. Let me explain one thing first. I'm an atheist. Almost a militant atheist. I loath organized religion. I despise it. Personal belief is something completely different, I can't stop anyone from using their own brain to something so silly. But I can try to stop churches and organizations from using their religion to as a power tool.

But if I had to choose a religion, I would choose the some ancient pagan belief. No, I have no reason to sacrifice human beings - but hey, human sacrifice is still used in Christianity, just in a different way - through war and terror. What I like about it is the freedom, the humour, the idea that nature and animals is higher than us humans.

The Wicker Man is the ultimate deconstruction of Christianity (and related religions, as Islam and Judaism) as a strong and powerful tool. It points out so well the extreme weakness of the believers and how easy they can be manipulated.

Sergeant Howie isn't intelligent or down-to-earth. He's just stupid. And a perfect lamb to the slaughter.


Page said...

It's been quite a few years since I've seen The Wicker Man and to be honest I hadn't given it any thought other than knowing that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

All the more reason to watch it again while keeping your thoughts on it, analysis of the religious aspects in mind.
It might be quite different than what you usually write about but I enjoyed it immensely.

Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

"it's way to famous, to classic, to brilliant and not underrated - it's a respected masterpiece."

Yeah...when people like Andres Lokko starts namedropping this film, you know it´s in the mainstream.

Could you do a review of the remake...?

I would love to hear your thoughts on that one.

"What I like about it is the freedom, the humour, the idea that nature and animals is higher than us humans."

Too bad Friedkin didn´t head in this way in The Guardian (1990).

Nice rant, Ninja.


Nigel M said...

Not sure Howie is stupid. I think stubborn sums him up. It is what he refuses to see is his downfall. He is self assured and confident but this is his stubbornness.

In part this is about class and the self confidence of the professional classes. He has formed his view and will stick with it right or wrong.

When he meets with Summerisle he explains to Howie how religion is bunk- he gives a history of the religion and explains how it is man made- he even provides a practical example with the wicker man cult. Howie refuses to take this in.

Of course if there are any clashes of religion there are not between Christianity and Wicker cult but within Howie, though he seems to use this as affirmation of some kind of Messiah complex he has developed- temptation. Thus the ending where Summerisle points out that Howie has finally got what he wants. Howie I think finally puts two and two together, realises that he has made a mistake and starts screaming like a girl. But it is of course too late- the people of the island have their sacrifice and the world loses a stubborn dogmatic ultra conservative law enforcement agent. So its win-win and celebrations all round.

Nigel M said...

Oh and just to point out that the wicker man is not the older of the religions- Christianity is. The Wicker Man faith was a recent invention designed to pacify the people of Summerisle and if anything has more in common with 19th century revival paganism. Maybe this is all just in the restored longer version though.

Ninja Dixon said...

No Nigel, I'm NOT actually meaning the religion in the movie The Wicker Man - I'm meaning the religion and traditions it's based upon. That those are way older than Christianity.

But as usual people think I'm too stupid to understand such a thing.