Action cinema after 9/11

Lisa Purse

in Contemporary Action Cinema

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780748638178
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670857 | DOI:
Action cinema after 9/11

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This chapter analyses the extent to which 9/11 and the military interventions and political ramifications that followed have affected recent action cinema. Beginning with a discussion of the way in which concepts of heroism and justified retribution were renewed and subsequently problematised in media and political discourse, the chapter speculates on the cultural work being done by action films that emerged in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, and later on in the decade. The chapter then uses The Kingdom and The Hurt Locker to analyse the representational and aesthetic dynamics of action movies that have explicitly striven to negotiate the socio-political and cultural complexities of the post-9/11 world, exploring the ways in which the action film's narrative, genre and representational conventions struggle to accommodate the real-world complexities of this politicized cultural context.

Keywords: 9/11; Iraq; Afghanistan; Heroism; Justified action; Genre; Narrative; Representation; politics

Chapter.  9909 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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