A double agent had enough of the danger and horrible terrorism she's making under orders in multiple countries,her breaking free was not easy ,and the people she thought she knew are far from what she expected.
Nadia El Gendy,
A former history teacher and his wife Claire meet at a fancy restaurant with his elder brother, a prominent politician and his wife Babette. The plan is to discuss over dinner how to handle a crime committed by their teenage sons. The violent act of the two boys had been filmed by a security camera and shown on TV, but, so far, they have not been identified. The parents have to decide on what to do. Written by
Getting along with the brother from another mother.
"The Dinner" opens with a collage of: a faint radio voice asking about danger, panning to an ATM closet, then to a Civil War memorial, a graveyard, and then some rap music with its distinctive vocabulary. Some kids are seen drinking until the cops bust it up and the youngest pukes.
What follows is some of the most boring footage ever shown, where high school history teacher Paul Lohman (Steve Coogan) narrates to us his love for ancient history and to his wife his desire not to attend a planned dinner. It can only get better from here.
They meet up with Paul's brother Stan Lohman (Richard Gere) a consummate politician. Dinner conversation coupled with some judicious flashbacks explore the historical and political dimensions of racism in America as they discuss solutions to the jam their boys are in.
Stan's hard working (black) assistant Nina (Adepero Oduye) while not occupying the high side of any glass ceiling nevertheless can exemplify Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation that exhorts the freed Negroes to accept available work at fair wages. Paul's high school with its half White half Negro attendance would follow the Eisenhower era decision of Brown v. Board of Education on integration. The colored diners at an exclusive restaurant represent their access to services as demanded by MLK. And the remaining progress is covered by Stan who has the African-American vote sewn up.
The problem arises when Stan and his wife's black younger boy Beau having been adopted tries playing the race card to gain power with his sibling and cousin, they being natural offspring. Paul resents him personally. If institutional racism has been completely conquered in society, is it even possible to have racism with just one black person in a family? You'd be surprised.
That's just the political dimension; the historical is worse. The bloody battle of Gettysburg pales compared to the ancient Deluge of Paul's period. Ellen Gunderson Traylor in her historical novel _Noah_ (Polson, MT: Port Hole Pub., 2001) writes, "prurient lusts so corrupted the line of Adam, that it was a rare family indeed which had no blood of the gods in its veins. The daughters of mankind had so often been vulnerable to seduction, that it was extremely rare to find an unblemished line" (p. 59-60). "Noah was perfect in his generations" (Gen. 6:9), so any impurities would have come from the female side. In "The Dinner" the source of mental illness in the Lohman family line was attributed to their mother ("Mom was a wacko.") In Noah's family it appears to have been from maybe a handmaid the mother of Ham the youngestafter the mother of Shem and Japheth quit bearing, who brought the bad seed, which was demonstrated in the drunken Noah incident of Gen. 9:18-27 resulting in a fixed servile position of the youngest son of three, whose offspring through Cush (Hebrew for black) colonized Africa. In "The Dinner" history repeats itself in an incident with a "stinko bum" and miscreant son(s). Some rearrangement in the modern telling is added to keep it interesting.
The second time I saw "The Dinner" I wore my Robert E. Lee T-shirt in the spirit of the movie's depiction of the Battle of Gettysburg. Passing through our liberal college campus to drop off my ballot in the box along the way I remembered that my shirt did have a small Confederate battle flag on the front. But nobody here in Oregon noticed or cared. I suppose it's mainly in the South there was such a furor over it. This film is like that. Although there's a strong suggestion of a linkage to a biblical incident that befell Ham and his offspring, only some people would even notice it or be concerned.
Richard Greer was all-in as a politician. Steve Coogan was a so-so "psycho brother"I've seen scarier psychos. The women exhibited a strong range of emotion. Miscreant children looked bad. The innocent kid(s) had little acting to do except to be the deer caught in a headlight.
The flashbacks are set off by soft lighting. The ending is not emotionally satisfying unless you listen to the closing song all the way through. I found the movie compelling once I got through its boring beginning.
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