The Hollywood movie “Taken” is another male chauvinistic movie

I used to love the movie “Taken” that stars  Liam Neeson Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace. This “secret CIA agent” who is also a father and who leaves his “cool and macho” job to be with his daughter who is now distant from him. The only crime that Bryan Mills (played by Liam Neeson) is guilty of is that he is a true patriot and he loves his family too much. Sigh! Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? And to think that his wife would dump him despite all these awesome traits sure does seem like a gold digger, because in the movie she has “moved on” to another husband who is loving, caring and ofcourse rich! At the end, what we see is that when the family goes through a traumatic experience, it is Bryan’s macho skills that could “save” his daughter from flesh trade, and not money. And just see to what length Bryan Mills goes about protecting his daughter, wow! Impressive…. Lesson learnt… always listen to Daddy.

This is how I see the movie now:

An over smart guy who willingly put his country before his family (which is FINE) but then later seeking sympathy implicitly from friends, about how his wife left him and how distant his daughter has become. Well, what did you expect…if you planned not to be around, then why marry and make another person’s life complicated? Moreover, the wife remarried a rich man who comes across as a sweet person and whom even the daughter has taken a liking for. But what we see later is that, the sweet rich guy eventually will be a bad guy (as shown in Taken 2)  and Lenore has to come back running to her first husband who never treated her like that. So its all about how the woman made bad choices. Also, the movie shows the mother being careless in her decisions with respect to her daughter – allowing her to tour Europe with her friend etc. But if you see the probability of what happened, she has made an informed choice and it is less of carelessness and more of drama that the movie tries to emphasis, and that the “man” is always right. Ultimately the movie shows the mother and daughter warming up to the father because apparently that’s what you need in a father- love and machoness. And it is not just his amazing skills that saved his daughter, it was the rich man’s money too! But that gets side-lined. Also, the way Bryan Mills is shown to be “protective” of his daughter- in reality seems creepy, paranoid and controlling.

I went online to see if other people have actually written about this gendered take on the movie and I found this blog, which calls this movie Racist, sexist and insane. I think I agree with that author.

 

 

 

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7 Responses to The Hollywood movie “Taken” is another male chauvinistic movie

  1. VG Reese says:

    Art depends on the lens you view it through. I’d suggest using something like deconstruction and then asking if the interpretation is useful.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deconstruction

    If the interpretation is not useful, creating another interpretation may prove helpful. It is very likely that the creators of Taken did not take critical theory or feminism into consideration when making it. If that is the only lens you have to view movies like this through, the assumption is they aren’t made for you.

    This would apply equally to someone who has a PTSD reaction when watching violence. Do men exhibiting characteristics that are considered “heroic” and having fictional characters admire it upset you? This seems like a negative review based on very subjective criteria.

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    • Hi VG Reese, thanks for your comment. I do agree, at the end of the day- this is a review (negative ofcourse) based on subjective criteria. However, I was motivated to write this post mainly to highlight how my viewing of the same movie has so drastically changed. And how I have become less tolerable to certain traits in any film, which would other wise normally slipped under my radar.

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      • VG Reese says:

        Has your new outlook on life improved your happiness and quality of life?

        I used to reject more things when I was younger. For instance, I refused to listen to music because the RIAA was suing individuals for outrageous amounts of money. It made me feel good to do that, and I had alternative music that was outside the purview of the major recording industry.

        Since the RIAA has stopped the assault on copyright and individuals, I have since returned to listening to all music. I have to admit, I missed listening to songs that had a lot of meaning to me. I am not sure my moral superiority, carried out for the rest of my life, would have been a good thing for me.

        Is this new lens one that makes you outright happy? Or is it one that makes you feel like you are doing the right thing and the positive feelings are not a direct result?

        I am genuinely curious, since I can relate to both, obviously.

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  2. My new lens has improved my quality of life, but it does not make me outright happy. Rather, it makes me grounded knowing that I should make a note to view things from this lens also. Specifically with respect to gender-lens, I realised a lot of things I viewed before which was not from a gender lens led me to believe that these [situations] are not cases of gender discrimination, rather a naive attempt or not intended to offend. I think this approach makes me yet another cog in the [patriarchy] machinery. But by this lens, I become a faulty cog. I prefer being the latter to the former. I do not know if I was able to answer your question. Also, I honestly don’t know if me presenting things in this perspective makes me a better person, or have morally superior stance. I think it is more of – I think this is a better perspective than what I had before…and it is completely possible that this thought will evolve further in unknown directions.

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    • VG Reese says:

      Do you look at things through other lenses related to identity? Either willingly or unwillingly.

      I find it is quite hard to ignore the “mind virus” that the Alt-Right and intersectional feminism have pushed into the mainstream. It’s actually holistically annoying for me since I don’t enjoy that lens. I don’t really care about race, gender, or nationality in any significant way. Watching a movie or reading a book and thinking about its impacts on different “identity” groups is not my cup of tea, but I still find myself doing it.

      I haven’t watched Taken in quite a while, but it is definitely intended to be a fantasy for a man to be a hero in more than one sense. For most women, I would imagine it would be either a good action movie or something that makes you think heroes might exist and give you that sense of awe or safety. I’d also say it would be a valid interpretation to imagine yourself as the hero in the story as a woman. I’m not sure most people would agree with me.

      One of my favorite characters has remained Veronica Mars. I generally associate her with being a version of the highest good a hero can be. The idea that I can’t associate myself with her actions because she is a woman is a troubling one for me. It makes me wonder if my ability to abstract away things combined with my willingness to do so makes my point of view different on these kinds of topics.

      Are you able to see yourself as the protagonist in Taken?

      Thanks for replying and keeping the conversation going so far. After being blocked by several friends on Facebook for bringing up these kinds of topics, I find it is easier to find articulate strangers to bounce ideas off of. I find myself less upset if they choose to ignore my comments or block me.

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      • Watching a movie or reading a book and thinking about its impacts on different “identity” groups is not my cup of tea, but I still find myself doing it. [Ditto, however I find this an useful exercise to gain a more holistic understanding of things]

        I had not heard of Veronica Mars, until you mentioned it. Will look it up.

        Are you able to see yourself as the protagonist in Taken? [Umm.. I think I can 🙂 ]

        Liked by 1 person

      • VG Reese says:

        Veronica Mars was Kristen Bell’s first notable role as far as I know. It has a huge cult following. Don’t start with the movie if you are wanting to see it. The movie is a ton of fan service and was made with Kickstarter dollars. It is a good movie by itself, but is infinitely better in the context of what the show was.

        If you do get around to watching it, I hope you enjoy it. As someone who tries to do some writing, I see that show as some of the best in dialog and character development and likability.

        Liked by 1 person

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