Sunday, July 15, 2012

"Legacy": Black ops produces a modern day "Manchurian candidate"

The 2010 indie thriller “Legacy”, from “Black Camel” and “CodeBlack Entertainment” (and  Vivendi), with director Thomas Ikimi, achieves a lot as a low budget conspiracy thriller.  It puts together plot threads from “Manchurian Candidate” with “Inception” in a claustrophobic stage-play-likeness set mostly in an grimey warehouse and then in a “grungy as can be” Brooklyn apartment.

The film, supposedly an American thriller, was actually shot in Scotland by a Nigerian company (emphasizing black characters mostly), and unfolds through the consciousness of Malcolm Gray (Irdis Elba), who has somehow escaped from a rehab hospital after his Black Ops team in Eastern Europe was betrayed.  He holes up in the barren apartment, where you’re glad to have a fridge and probably couldn’t afford cable.   
In the meantime, his visible brother, Senator (R-NY) Darnell (Eamonn Walker) is talking tough on terror in all the press interviews as he prepares to announce his candidacy for president. 

The film often teases us with newspaper “front page” clips and television excerpts suggesting that the US is turning into a police state as a result of the “war on terror”.  We learn that Darnell had a lot to do with breaking up a plot to bring Sarin into the United States (possibly from stockpiles in the former Soviet Union – a problem well known with nuclear and biological weapons, too).  But that activity may have betrayed Malcolm’s unit.

Is Malcolm really back in the US, brainwashed to take out his brother?  Or is it even “worse”?  In this film, there really is a potential for spoilers.

The film does raise other points.  Do US intelligence services regularly use uniformed servicemembers? (Here, Malcolm is an Army WO.)  Black ops isn’t the same as a Seals raid (as with Osama bin Laden) is it?  The movies seem obsessed with the “extreme rendition” possibilities in intelligence, and seem to overlook the problem solving that would be needed when clues are obscure but menacing.  I can speculate further. Could intelligence services pick up a potential EMP scud attack, perhaps launched from a pirated boat? 

The film makes simple and effective use of everyday props.  One wonders if it needed the full 2.35:1 aspect ratio.

The official site is here.

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