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← Atheists Get Their "Brokeback Mountain" Moment in the New Sundance Film, "The Ledge"

Atheists Get Their "Brokeback Mountain" Moment in the New Sundance Film, "The Ledge" - Comments

Neurotic's Avatar Comment 1 by Neurotic

Someone seems to forget that a much higher percentage of gays are atheists than straights...

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 19:55:33 UTC | #636084

A4thinker's Avatar Comment 2 by A4thinker

Deary me this film looks absolutely terrible. Also, what on earth is the point? It's just propaganda for the sake of it. We already have well-loved atheists in the mainstream media - anyone who watches House can tell you that! Starring the brilliant Hugh Laurie, a much-loved atheist and rationalist it's the most watched medical drama in history and one of the most watched shows on American television (and worldwide).

Contrasted to this Goddamn awful film, this is probably just gonna take us back a few years of progress. It appears to have absolutely no point other than to show a bit of sex, the Christian fundy as the bad guy and the rational atheist as the good guy. There's absolutely no other reason for it - it is just mindless propaganda and will probably do more to make theists resent us.

Atheism is no 'big thing' - this film is setting it up to be a big important issue. It's not. Atheism is just a lack of belief in a deity. It tells you nothing more about a person - you get stupid atheists and you get some very smart ones.

Absolutely pathetic mindless drivel that equates to nothing more than a brain fart.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 20:08:50 UTC | #636090

sbooder's Avatar Comment 3 by sbooder

This will only provide the religious with presumed evidence that atheists are immoral and steal other people’s partners?

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 20:11:57 UTC | #636092

Mr_Paolo's Avatar Comment 4 by Mr_Paolo

Comment 3 by sbooder :

This will only provide the religious with presumed evidence that atheists are immoral and steal other people’s partners?

That was my initial thought too, based on the trailer.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 20:14:34 UTC | #636093

Kalex's Avatar Comment 5 by Kalex

Not sure how you can make those conclusions from a 2 minute preview A4thinker.

It was nominated for "Best US Drama" at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival which is a pretty good sign it isn't pathetic. The preview misses the underlining point of the movie: without faith in an afterlife, will he be capable of such a sacrifice? (thanks IMDB).

Perhaps you should wait until you actually see the movie before you berate it.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 20:17:10 UTC | #636095

Scoundrel's Avatar Comment 6 by Scoundrel

so Adultury is worse than murder?

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 20:17:25 UTC | #636096

A4thinker's Avatar Comment 7 by A4thinker

Comment 5 by Kalex :

Not sure how you can make those conclusions from a 2 minute preview A4thinker.

It was nominated for "Best US Drama" at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival which is a pretty good sign it isn't pathetic. The preview misses the underlining point of the movie: without faith in an afterlife, will he be capable of such a sacrifice? (thanks IMDB).

Perhaps you should wait until you actually see the movie before you berate it.

Aren't the previews supposed to show you the best bits of the film to hook you in? God help them if these are the best bits of the film. Lots of terrible films get nominated for things all the time it doesn't necessarily mean they're actually any good.

You're right, I should wait until I see the movie before I cast such judgements but my initial reaction from the preview was one of horror - this film really does look appalling from the 2 minutes I've seen of it.

It just seems like people are trying to hard to promote atheism - and that's exactly how the general population will see it as well. The film serves no other purpose other than to demonize religion (something that is rather self-evident of religion already) and promote atheism. At least Brokeback Mountain had a plot; this just looks pitiful.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 20:28:54 UTC | #636101

Michael Austin's Avatar Comment 8 by Michael Austin

This seems negative. Watch out for Atheists, or they'll steal your wife!

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 20:41:37 UTC | #636106

Mr_Paolo's Avatar Comment 9 by Mr_Paolo

Comment 6 by Scoundrel :

so Adultury is worse than murder?

Could you kindly elaborate on your question?

I'm not sure who this is aimed at, I can't see why you are asking it and I'm very interested to see how you would answer it?

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 20:44:51 UTC | #636107

Kalex's Avatar Comment 10 by Kalex

I'll reserve judgement but if it is true that the atheist plays the hero in this film that is a definite positive.

I don't think it will be made to look like he steals the man's wife... something a hero doesn't do in Hollywood productions. My guess is she is probably abused by the husband and she is the one making the break. But it's all guessing at this point.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 20:48:58 UTC | #636110

Michael Austin's Avatar Comment 11 by Michael Austin

He asks it because in the trailer the husband wants to kill his wife's adulterer.

Comment 9 by Mr_Paolo :

Comment 6 by Scoundrel :

so Adultury is worse than murder?

Could you kindly elaborate on your question?

I'm not sure who this is aimed at, I can't see why you are asking it and I'm very interested to see how you would answer it?

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 20:49:17 UTC | #636111

knivesron's Avatar Comment 12 by knivesron

This trailer makes it look like the atheist stole the theists partner, which is kind of pathetic. im an atheist and it makes me want to team up with the theists and give the atheist the doc martin dental plan. I'm hopefull that this trailer is a just a twist and the real movie is alot different to the story portraid here. Perhaps this filmmaker needs to read Sam Harris' new book

Plus like what was said in a comment earlyer there are stupid atheists and smart atheists. jeffery dahmar was an atheist, anyone can be. i think the main point isent if some one is an atheist or a religousist, but the way of thinking. This is what i understand from Richard Dawkins books is religon is a way of thinking, not an institution. I mean that in the sence that someone can be atheist and when you ask them why they say "I dont know I just am". Its the habbit of trusting your instincts without question. So always question and try to understand better, cause if no one else tricks you, you will and are right now

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 20:52:29 UTC | #636113

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 13 by ZenDruid

I'm wondering whether the character of the husband is well developed or merely a caricature. Without that particular weirdness as a central premise, it's just another boy-meets-married-girl flick.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 20:57:16 UTC | #636115

houseofcards's Avatar Comment 14 by houseofcards

Good or bad, we need more movies.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:00:18 UTC | #636117

MAJORPAIN's Avatar Comment 15 by MAJORPAIN

This looks like a good movie to me and I can't wait to see it.

I will judge them if my money was well spent.

Also, I think that showing an atheist as just another human being going about his busness but getting wrapped up in some drama is progress of a sort. Hopefully it won't be preachy and "regular" folks won't notice the atheism part so much.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:14:05 UTC | #636121

SourTomatoSand's Avatar Comment 16 by SourTomatoSand

All the reviews thus far on Rotten Tomatoes (only four, admittedly) are negative. Not surprising to me. Also, how are the stars of this "A-list"?

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:14:33 UTC | #636122

danconquer's Avatar Comment 17 by danconquer

Haha, people keep using this expression 'steal' someones wife. Is this their 'own' language, or are they making a comment on how theists will view the plotline?

At the risk of sounding like a PC bore, you can't "steal" someones wife, because she isn't the property of the husband. And, besides, as the person who is already in a relationship, doesn't she shoulder most of the moral responsibility in such a situation?

Anyway, the film looks ho-hum. Not terrible. But definitely nowhere near as good as some of the best modern classics like, say, Superbabies, Baby Geniuses 2 or Pocket Ninjas.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:16:10 UTC | #636123

wald0h's Avatar Comment 18 by wald0h

SourTomatoSand

Uhh whether or not you like them is one thing, but there are some pretty big names in the movie.

Terrence Howard - iron man (huge blockbuster) Liv Tyler - Armageddon (huge blockbuster) Patrick Wilson - The Watchmen (huge blockbuster) Charlie Hunnam - Sons of Anarchy (okay so not a blockbuster but one of the best shows in television in my opinion)

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:20:51 UTC | #636125

njwong's Avatar Comment 19 by njwong

Perhaps RD.NET should also have featured this clip from the movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-RHKF_c-Hc

which gives a better perspective of the atheist character.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:22:10 UTC | #636126

remijdio's Avatar Comment 20 by remijdio

Looks interesting. I'll give it a chance. I know that once it's out one of the first things I'll hear is "He had a right to kill his wife or the guy! They were adulterers!"
If that's the case, lets put Newt Gingrich at the front of the firing line.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:24:23 UTC | #636127

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 21 by ZenDruid

Comment 9 by Mr_Paolo :

Comment 6 by Scoundrel :

so Adultury is worse than murder?

Could you kindly elaborate on your question?

I'm not sure who this is aimed at, I can't see why you are asking it and I'm very interested to see how you would answer it?

From the trailer, I understood that the husband would kill her at noon if the guy on the ledge did not jump. It's traditional (and legal in Texas, afaik) for a cuckold to kill the adulterer, but this is much crueler.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:25:19 UTC | #636128

Corylus's Avatar Comment 22 by Corylus

Comment 2 by A4thinker :

Contrasted to this Goddamn awful film, this is probably just gonna take us back a few years of progress. It appears to have absolutely no point other than to show a bit of sex, the Christian fundy as the bad guy and the rational atheist as the good guy.

I would suspect that it is a little more complicated than that.

At the beginning, the fundy will be seen as the good guy by many. He is clean cut, articulate, all sensitive with his gee-tar and most of all, very godly. If Chapman has done this correctly, and I suspect (as an experienced script-writer) he will have done, then the swap of sympathies from one protagonist to another will be a major aspect. There will be clues from the beginning that he might not be a very nice man - the draping himself over his wife while meeting another man (blatant, creepy scent-marking that all women will recognise) might be the first one. Then things will escalate until eventually the idea of him as a nice man will become untenable. Make no mistake: he will not be bad from the start.

There is a hilarious (and disturbing) film review site for real fundamentalists called capalert it is for Christians, especially Christian parents, to use before they decide whether or not to view a film. (Heh! you can spend hours looking up your favourites on there). Every now and then though they make me very sad.(1) This happened when I read their review of Brokeback Mountain...

Brokeback Mountain has got to be one of the most sly and cunning anti-Christian films ever produced. It violated God's Word not by belittling or vilifying God's Word or faith in him but rather by encouraging empathy for the practice of behaviors that slap the very face of God.....

What is important to the moviemakers, rather, is that the viewer be made to feel, and feel, and feel again as deeply as possible the exquisitely painful loneliness and heartache of the homosexual cowboys – denied their truest happiness because of an ignorant and homophobic society.

Thus are the Judeo-Christian moral values that formed the very foundation and substance of Western culture for the past three millennia all swept away on a delicious tide of manufactured emotion. And believe me, skilled directors and actors can manufacture emotion by the truckload. It's what they do for a living.

You stop marginalising people when you see in them a reflection of yourself. You start (and continue) to marginalise them when you only see your shadow. The writer of the review above felt himself start to empathise, saw his image start to clear as a result, and was obviously terrified at the prospect of seeing himself reflected in a detested other's face.

It might be that some viewers will be braver than him and thus able to look at themselves for a time. A reasonable aim, I would say.

-=-=-=-=-=

(1) They are not all bad though - they thought Daredevil was dreadful and they were right :P

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:27:36 UTC | #636130

xjudgesx2's Avatar Comment 23 by xjudgesx2

Removed by moderator

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:32:46 UTC | #636133

Quine's Avatar Comment 24 by Quine

Comment 19 by njwong

Perhaps RD.NET should also have featured this clip from the movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-RHKF_c-Hc

which gives a better perspective of the atheist character.

Yes, I like that clip better for content. However, I understand why the movie makers would use another to try to get tickets sold.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:42:07 UTC | #636135

Saerain's Avatar Comment 25 by Saerain

Comment 17 by danconquer :

Haha, people keep using this expression 'steal' someones wife. Is this their 'own' language, or are they making a comment on how theists will view the plotline?

At the risk of sounding like a PC bore, you can't "steal" someones wife, because she isn't the property of the husband. And, besides, as the person who is already in a relationship, doesn't she shoulder most of the moral responsibility in such a situation?

Thank you. That was eating at my composure.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:43:01 UTC | #636136

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 26 by God fearing Atheist

I've seen one rave review, 5 mediocre to bad reviews, and one in Russian, which I can't read.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:48:10 UTC | #636137

Sharron Ishak's Avatar Comment 27 by Sharron Ishak

Removed by moderator

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:51:29 UTC | #636139

SourTomatoSand's Avatar Comment 28 by SourTomatoSand

Comment 18 by wald0h :

SourTomatoSand

Uhh whether or not you like them is one thing, but there are some pretty big names in the movie.

Terrence Howard - iron man (huge blockbuster) Liv Tyler - Armageddon (huge blockbuster) Patrick Wilson - The Watchmen (huge blockbuster) Charlie Hunnam - Sons of Anarchy (okay so not a blockbuster but one of the best shows in television in my opinion)

So your definition of "A-list" is "been in any movie that was financially successful"? Terrence Howard had a bit part in the first Iron Man and was replaced by the much, much better Don Cheadle in the sequel, and is better known for being a criminal and wife-beating apologist. Liv Tyler had a bit part in Armageddon 13 years ago. Charlie Hunnam is the star of a cable TV series. Patrick Wilson had a bit part in Watchmen, also.

If that's all it takes to be A-list, they might as well have put Ashton Kutcher in the lead.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:56:42 UTC | #636141

SourTomatoSand's Avatar Comment 29 by SourTomatoSand

Comment 26 by God fearing Atheist :

I've seen one rave review, 5 mediocre to bad reviews, and one in Russian, which I can't read.

The rave review makes the lead character sound pretty damn immoral. The writer there implies the atheist lead takes the wife back into drugs after being sober for a long while, and straight out states that the atheist lead is intentionally trying to get the antagonist's wife to cheat just to spite him.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 22:07:05 UTC | #636145

Daniel Schealler's Avatar Comment 30 by Daniel Schealler

I don't judge books by their covers, and I'm also not going to judge a movie by its trailer.

But I am going to judge the trailer. The only criteria for a trailer that really matters is whether or not it makes me want to see the movie.

This trailer doesn't make me want to see the movie.

Which is bad, because I have a bit of a thing for Liv Tyler. If you put Liv Tyler in a movie trailer and I still don't want to see that movie? This says something negative things about that trailer.

Normally, I wouldn't see this movie at all. Pass on the cinema and pass on the DVD.

However, the openly atheist protagonist thing is at least a little bit interesting, so I'll wait for the DVD to come out at rental stores and hope to be pleasantly surprised.

But there's going to have to be an awesome follow up trailer, or some rave reviews, before I'll go watch the film.

Now: As for the 'atheist's Brokeback Mountain' thing, have to knock that back as a silly, trivialising, and possibly a little bit insulting at stirring up false controversy.

Because when I see a movie where the protagonist doesn't mention God or religion (which is fairly frequent) I don't even think to consider whether that character might be religious. The script-writers probably intended that the character would be religious - but much of the time, it never actually comes up.

The situation is very different for GLBTs: Very nearly always, the protagonist of a movie will have a love interest of the opposite sex. The hetronormativity of cinema is something that is prominent, front and center, a crucial part of the plots and emotional appeal of most stories in general, not just movies.

That's why Brokeback Mountain was a big deal... To the point that I just don't see the comparison.

I think that all kinds of privilege function the same way - so religious and heteronomative privilege are different manifestations of the same thing. But that's not to say that we shouldn't acknowledge relevant differences between the two worlds when context demands it.

For the reasons given above, I think that treating this movie as some kind of rough equivalent to Brokeback Mountain is incorrect. Firstly, I don't think the analogy is valid, it's just incorrect. But secondly, to try and fit the two together is trivializing and dismissive of Brokeback Mountain in particular and, by association, the problems faced by the GLBT community.

I'm heterosexual so I'm not as annoyed about that as I should be (although I am certainly annoyed). But if I were a gay man, I'm pretty sure I'd be seething: "Look, atheist straight people, we get it. You like us. You think we're super. You stick up for us, and we appreciate it. We really do. But for fuck's sake - this? This movie shit? Ledge and Brokeback aren't the same thing, and it's condescending and shitty to try and pretend they are, and if you'd all been paying attention you should've realized they're not the same thing. I like that you get all high and mighty about how much you like us, it's great. But please, actually think a bit before saying stupid shit and comparing yourselves to us in all ways, okay?"

And perhaps more to the point, I think it's stirring up false controversy to get people to watch the film - and that ticks me off as well.

So TL;DR version: Crappy trailer. Unless a better trailer comes out - or some raving reviews - I'll pass. Well... normally I'd pass. But the atheist thing is at least kind of interesting, so I'll probably rent the DVD out of curiosity when it goes to rental stores. And trying to compare Ledge to Brokeback trivializes how big a deal Brokeback was, so I wish people would stop doing that.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 22:18:43 UTC | #636148