In The Face Of Evil: Reagan's War In Word And Deed

2004, Movie, PG, 110 mins


Executive-produced by Peter Schweizer and based on his book Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty-Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism, this dogmatic documentary is as vivid, pulpy, relentlessly on-message and utterly unequivocal as the pocket-size religious comics produced by conservative, born-again Christian Jack Chick's ministries. Its worldview is one of inky blacks and spotless whites; gray areas breed malefactors and dupes. Driven by a steadfast belief in American exceptionalism, it leads with the claim that Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) was the most radical president of the 20th century, the only man elected to that office — twice — without support from the elitist cabal of Washington insiders whose self-serving situation ethics have perverted American politics. The Cold War is renamed the Third World War and Reagan's career in entertainment and politics posited as a lifelong moral crusade against "The Beast," a catchall phrase encompassing Bolshevism, Fascism, Marxism, Nazism and Communism. The roots of the Cold War, an apocalyptic battle for the soul of humanity, lie in World War I's festering trenches, where a generation's shattered confidence in the old world order left it vulnerable to utopian idealism. Charismatic despots subsequently warped their ideals and secured their allegiance to regimes designed to repress and enslave. Meanwhile, young Ronald Reagan was pursuing movie stardom and learning, via his tenure as president of the Screen Actors Guild, about dirty politics and the Communist infiltration of American unions. His anti-Communist activism grew and his career waned while America took a wrong turn into idealism and became weak and vulnerable to Soviet manipulation. Reagan's rise to political power reflected the true will of the American majority who knew, as he did, that pacifists, student activists, hippies and anti-nuclear protesters were at best deluded by covert Communist propaganda and at worst on the Kremlin payroll. Reagan's presidency, a two-term war on Soviet Russia by covert operation, economic manipulation and a massive military buildup that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, is depicted as a one-man victory over wickedness. The final 10 minutes, devoted to footage of the World Trade Center towers falling, clearly imply that Muslim enemies of "the last best hope of Earth" would never have dared try such a thing if America's current leadership possessed Reagan's faith, resolve and willingness to go toe-to-toe with ultimate evil. Were the film's tone not so hysterical it might be provocative; as it is, insights and insults are inextricably intertwined. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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In The Face Of Evil: Reagan's War In Word And Deed
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