Road To Hell Film Reviews Episode 000
In The Road to Hell Film Reviews Podcast, Nicky and Danny analyze cinematic portrayals of utopias and dystopias alike. The medium of film provides an aesthetic window into humankind’s loftiest dreams and darkest nightmares regarding the potentials and the pitfalls of human socio-political organization. We’ve all heard time and time again that art imitates life, and that life imitates art. In this show, we explore these various imitations, connecting the dots between the fictional and the factual, referencing the symbolic, rhetorical, and narrative themes encoded in movies as juxtaposed to real-world political, technological, and cultural advances.
In the real world, Utopianism – the belief in and the pursuit of an ideal, “perfect” society – is the engine of tyranny; that is to say that the clamoring for perfection at any and all costs overwhelmingly tends to give rise to an “ends justify the means” mentality. However, in reality, even the highest of aims cannot sanctify nor purify the evil actions taken in their pursuit. Like the old saying goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Throughout the history of civilization, small groups of influential and powerful individuals have made promises, promises which allegedly make all of the heinous actions worth while. The church will save us, but for it to do so we must accept its sovereignty and exterminate the world’s heathens. This king will revive us and his empire will civilize us, but first we must conquer the world and lay waste to those who oppose us. Technology will cure all ailments and ultimately deify us, but in the process we may have to give up our very humanity. While these promises serve to mobilize the masses behind whichever influential individual or group is purveying them, the promised land is never reached. Rather, the more common outcome of humankind’s Utopian endeavors is desolation. Death. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Sometimes it may be argued that leaders who pave this road actually believe that their good intentions will lead to Utopia; sometimes, perhaps, they fail to see where it truly leads. But we must also confront the horrifying possibility that some of these leaders know precisely where the road leads; perhaps, in some instances, we are too forgiving, or too ignorant, or too naive in assuming their intentions to be good. They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but maybe those intentions were sinister from the start.
This is where movies come in. Good movies are tiny little treatises on human nature; they display the whole spectrum of human behavior, ranging from the heights of heroism to the depths of cruelty and wickedness. In the movies we will be discussing, we will see man’s capacity to tyrannize his fellow man, man’s capacity to be bought by promises of the perfect society, and, let’s hope, man’s capacity to free himself from tyranny and from the illusions which chained him in the first place.