I never expect any profound philosophy from Hollywood. So I was not disappointed very much after watching the new movie, Priest. In fact, I watched the movie purely by chance; it was part of my way of celebrating the summer vacation. Every vacation I watch a few movies and today it just so happened that Priest was the only one available within the time slot that suited my convenience.
However, I had nurtured a faint hope that Hollywood might have grown up a bit. For example, I looked forward to meeting some 21st century versions of vampires in the movie. But the vampires actually ended up as caricatures of those I had conjured up in my imagination. I had hoped to see a priest-hero who would redefine the whole vampire kingdom to suit the contemporary world. But the hero of the movie ended up as a terribly disappointing regression. The movie takes us backward in time, in fact. It tells the story of a priest in those days when there were priests and priestesses trained to fight vampires. It reminds us of the Dark Ages. The cardinal [Monsignor, as he is addressed] is a mouthpiece of his Dark Age counterparts when he says, “Whoever goes against the Church goes against God.”
The Priest chooses to go against the Church, though he knows that he is not going against God. The only redemptive aspect I could see in the movie is just that: it shows us, though in a pathetically unimaginative way, that God may not be with the Church at all. There is a priestess among those who have been asked by the Church to bring the Priest back to the college of cardinals/bishops “dead or alive.” The priestess succeeds in catching up with the Priest – where else but in the world of the vampires! And does she capture the priest? Or does the vampire succeed in catching them both?
With the Priest is also the boyfriend of the girl who had been captured by the vampires. He vows to shoot the Priest if he is going to kill his girlfriend in the name of her being “infected” by the vampires. Infected – I liked that term. It’s as if vampirehood is a disease that’s waiting to infect mankind.
Well, I won’t go beyond that with the plot. You may like to watch the movie.
Watch and enter the world of vampires as imagined by Hollywood. It’s a boring world of darkness and sheer aridity. The world is absolutely different from what the Highpriest of vampires promises to the priest in return for joining him and his folks: “Freedom from sin and guilt, enjoyment of life.” Yet his world reeks of skulls and bones, blood and absolute sterility. And a lot of noise.
If it is freedom from sin and guilt that the vampire has to offer, he has really nothing much to offer, I thought watching the movie. Aren’t we living in just that sort of a world?
[The movie set me thinking about freedom and what it could possibly mean to different people. I shall keep my thoughts until the next blog.]