Video on Demand — March 2015

Video pick of the month


Bullying prince Cloten (Anton Yelchin) pursues princess Immogen (Dakota Fanning) — who has rejected him, married impoverished Posthumus Leonatus (Penn Badgley) and fled her father’s domain — by looking at the Google Maps directions her sister pulled up when Immogen fled; “this is the history of my knowledge concerning her flight” is re-envisioned as browser history. a smart use of the changing lexicon. Thus ad infinitum; these are the easter eggs you come for first and foremost, close reading as near-gimmickry.

Caius Lucius is now a representative of “Rome P.D.,” but this isn’t a cute evasion of meaningful present-day analogies. The corrupt Roman P.D. demands a cut of drug sales from Cymbeline’s (drug) empire, which might seem like a rote update of the familiar crooked, as-deep-in-as-the-criminals law enforcement familiar from rotely cynical popular movies. Such satisfyingly venal dynamics suggest the very real problems posed by police acting as de facto revenue collectors through parking tickets, drunk and disorderly citations, and other means for cash-strapped cities. As Matt Taibbi pointed out, Eric Garner died at the hands of police cracking down on single-sale cigarettes precisely because the NYPD and their equivalent forces are now fulfilling the role of dubiously motivated tax collectors. In that light, the idea of “paying tribute” gains new, vile meaning: to prosper as a business or citizen in NYC, even as an outer-suburb outlier (criminal or otherwise), is to be complicit in a system that combines systematic racial inequality with the tacit task of remedying budget shortfalls. (Vadim Rizov)


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