[UPDATE: I received an email from someone who I have reason to believe is indeed close to the story, rebutting my charges. I still think the film slipped up, but I am certain that the SEALS are not antisemites. Read more here.]
[I didn't want to clutter this post with endless updates, so I have further thoughts here, if you're interested.]
Let me begin by saying some nice things about the Navy SEAL movie Act of Valor. The SEALS who star in it aren’t good actors, but they aren’t bad actors either. None will win an Academy Award, but all managed to appear relaxed on-screen and seem like real people, not like real people struggling with a script.
The action scenes are every bit as good as advertised: watching the SEALS glide through the jungles of Costa Rica, emerge like alligators from dark tropical waters, fire their guns from trucks while dozens of bad guys are shooting right back, jumping from planes — it’s all there, and it’s a total adrenalin rush to watch them. It’s even more exciting knowing that the SEALS have actually done all this stuff for real. They’re not a combination of pretty Hollywood actors and stunt doubles. These guys have handled real guns, crawled through bug-infested jungles, and tangled with bad guys.
Throughout the movie, my kids kept leaning over to me and whispering “This is so cool” and “This is awesome.” As the movie unfolded, I was already planning a review that incorporated their enraptured comments. About halfway through the movie, though, cool and awesome came to a grinding halt, and I watched the rest of the movie stunned and confused.
Here’s the deal. There are two chief baddies in the movie: A crazed Islamic Chechen (who is actually Russian convert) and another guy who is introduced to us as Christo, a drug smuggling billionaire, presumably Slavic, who kills a CIA agent, orders the brutal torture of another (female) CIA agent, and uses his money to fund, and his smarts to facilitate, a massive terror attack on the United States. The actor who plays him, Alex Veadov, looks like this in his IMDB photo:
He has sort of a hippie, geek, scholar look, right? You’d see him in Starbucks, sipping a Chai Latte.
Interestingly, Veadov/Christo, despite being the chief bad guy in the movie, is absent from the trailers, something that’s rather peculiar. Usually, part of the trailer’s allure is to show the bad guy, so that you know precisely who the good guys are going after. It’s part of the audience’s anticipation. Maybe the movie-makers thought that Veadov’s character was too ugly to show in a trailer. I can’t find any pictures of him in the role but, with his beard, greasy hair, shiny face, and hook nose, I can help you out by telling you that the character looks like this:
Or like this:
Or like this:
For those who have missed my point, all of the above images come from Nazi antisemitic propaganda.
From the moment he appeared on-screen, I was struck by Veadov’s similarity to the propaganda images. I assumed that the film-makers were trying to make him look like this, a familiar face to all of you, one that is both Semitic and one that is attached to one of America’s greatest enemies:
I was wrong in that assumption. Halfway through the movie, in a very exciting action scene, the SEALS capture Christo and the Team’s senior commander interviews him. Christo is oozing greasy sweat and even more greasy arrogance. At any moment, one expects him to call his interrogator “infidel” or say “Allah is Great,” two things we hear with great frequency from those fighting against Americans in Afghanistan, those who fought against Americans in Iraq, and those who blow up Americans on 9/11. Instead, though, what we hear the is the Senior say “But you’re Jewish!”
Here’s the deal: Our “brave” SEALS flinched. Tasked with making a movie that could have shown Americans who the real heroes and the real enemies are, they chose, instead, to tear a page out of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and promote, very heavily (and especially heavily to Israel’s political friends), a movie that makes its greasy, ugly, rich, manipulative, American-hating bad guy . . . a Jew.
The other day, I saw a Newsweak headline calling the Navy SEALS “Obama’s Secret Army.” At the time, I was incensed. My thought was that the Newsweek team was annointing Obama king, with his own special force, answerable only to him. The SEALS, I said to any who would listen, are America’s secret army or, at the very least, the military’s secret army.
Having seen this movie, though, my feeling is that Obama can have his SEALS. They deserve each other, since both of them apparently feel very comfortable wallowing in the world of antisemitism. I’m really, really disgusted.
Do not waste your money on this movie. Hollywood movies are almost as good at portraying action and adventure and they, at least, are more subtle in their antisemitic tropes. Or, even better, don’t see anything at all. Take the money you would have spent on the movie and donate it to the Israeli Defense Forces — real warriors, fighting real bad guys.
UPDATE: Turns out Debbie Schlussel noticed it too.
UPDATE II: Just to clarify, as you’ll discover by looking at my military-themed blog posts, I am as pro-military as they come, without actually being military myself. I support our military’s mission 100%, and greatly admire the brave men and women who put themselves on the front line. Which makes this movie’s completely gratuitous (as in, it didn’t have any purpose) swipe at Jews all the more disgraceful.