Armond White loves Resident Evil 5, hates The Master
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>Resident Evil: Retribution doesn’t sell “big ideas” or “controversy.” It continues the video-game-based series that Paul W.S. Anderson has assayed three previous times, always growing. Anderson’s taste for the kinetic excitement that gaming has in common with cinema inspires him to turn gaming conventions into idealized pop myths. Serious ideas about our entropic destiny are used to confirm humanity’s positive will as embodied by resilient Alice. This universal lesson opposes The Master’s cynicism in which P.T.’s vague storytelling alludes to notorious religious beliefs then particularizes its “expose” with pessimistic displays of Quell and Dodd’s actorly neuroses. It’s a secularist epic for audiences of the vampire age who don’t believe in religion anyway–there’s no possibility of rebirth or conversion, just suspicions of torture as Dodd manipulates Quell to follow orders and reveal his pain. Yet Alice meets cynicism head on and does spectacular battle with it. That used to be the purpose of movies–at least until the indie era permitted disaffected filmmakers to obfuscate moral predicaments with narcissistic indulgence.