For my second entry in ‘Films About Fiction’ I’ve decided to examine 2012. I don’t know, I guess it was the only movie I could find that was actually less appropriate than Re-Cycle. This flick is all about blockbuster eschatology and big budget special effects, but it’s also unexpectedly about the redemptive power of fiction.
Make of this what you will, but 2012 was very good at making me worry about how to navigate beneath vast quantities of seawater without being crushed by gigantic debris. And the fact that the protagonist was a writer only aided my escapist enjoyment. (Especially as any elements of metafiction were very well buried.)
Played by John Cusack, this protagonist is a young novelist whose first novel, Farewell Atlantis, sold an unsatisfactory number of copies. And he appears not to be working much on his next effort. Instead he’s become a limo driver … and his wife’s left him … and his children don’t respect him … and etc. He’s down on his luck and probably suffering from writer’s block, and thus the film can do away with any need to depict the work of writing and instead embrace frenetic, stupefying destruction for the entirety of its 2 hours and 38 minutes.
It’s a techno-thriller retelling of Noah’s Arc, what the director calls a “biblical flood movie,” but one that has more in common with Tom Clancy than the Old Testament. The fact that Cusack plays a writer isn’t particularly important to the plot. But his book, which is a fictional version of exactly what the characters find themselves facing, becomes an inspiration to people who are trying to do the right thing in a time when it’s all but impossible. Get it? It’s a statement about the ability of fiction to inspire! Trite perhaps, but a nice touch in an otherwise unintellectual exercise in action adventure.
And, if you think about it, it’s also a comment by the film on its own status as a work of art. The implication being that even trashy fictions can be important and influential. April fools?