Thursday, 17 May 2012

Mercury Rising

A very different kind of science fiction thriller adventure is Mercury Rising. The USA has an unbreakable code which a nine year old autistic child is able to break after two of those who helped devise the code for some reason not clear to me but on which the whole film hangs decide to test it out in a puzzle magazine giving a telephone number to ring which the boy does, This results in a senior within the National Security Agency ordering the section of the boy and his parents and the two young men who tested the code via the puzzle magazine.

Enter Bruce Willis of the FBI who detects that all is not as it should be and rescues (kidnaps) the boy from the clutches of the NSA and gores on the run with him declared outlaw but has the help of a friend within the FBI. Because the boy is autistic he cannot communicate directly with Willis who enlists the help of a young woman he encounters at a coffee shop to help look after the boy while he makes some further enquiries. He remains in the dark without knowing the whys and there wherefores until the young woman friend of one of the two young men creative finds him murdered but also finds a crumpled note of a letter being sent to Willis explaining what has happened.

She fortunately is seen by Willis’s friend at the FBI when she contacts and he takes her to see Willis where he is hiding. Whereas Willis appears   willing to endanger the life of the young woman he counsels his trained FBI friend to put the welfare of his family first in limiting his involvement. However he asks the man to secret the boy in the witness protection programme.

Understandably the FBI agent is portrayed as stupid enough to arrange this for Willis and to communicate what he is doing with Willis and the girl without taking the basic counter surveillance measures. One suspects there is in a reality such rival between the official National security agency and the FBI as there has always been between the FBI and State and County police forces, endangering national security as a consequence.

Willis has gone to visit the NSA controller behind the murders who rightly accuses Willis of naivety in that what is life of one autistic boy worth against that of the national security for 200 million. How many civilians have been treated in this way in Iraq and Afghanistan you may well ask and don’t tell me one  white American child is worth  more than the hundreds possibly thousands died in friendly fire as part of the USA led operations?

When Willis goes to confront the NSA man at his home in finds the man is holding a birthday party and agreed to see Willis in his wine cellar which provides Willis with the opportunity to destroy some of his best vintages as part of making a point of forcing   the man to call of his dogs and go on National TV to admit the code can be broken, Why he should want to do this is also not clear? Why the NSA would want to kill the parents, the creative and the boy is also not justified or appears rational other than for he purposes of the film. In the finale the FBI agent friend is able to persuade his boss that the it is the NSA man who is the rogue and turns the table in top of tall building helicopter finale in which the boy walks fearlessly along the edge of the building roof to get a gun to go give to Willis which enable him to take control of the situation and the NSA man who falls to his death below.

The film ends with Willis going to see the boy who is at a special day centre and who is also fostered to see how he is doing. He brings some puzzle magazines and the kindly assistant encourages Willis to make direct contact although accepting the boy may not know who Willis now is. The boy makes eye contact and give Willis a hug. The only redeeming feature of the film is that it successfully communicates about the nature of autism and many of the young people if they also have high intelligence an make important contributions to society and can be helped to fit in better with the rest of us. However the basic premises is fundamentally wrong. OK democratic states should have principles and standards, but the main responsibility of governments is to govern in the interests of all the people with national security its core. Any constitution has to be subservient to this consideration.

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