Extraction, a Bangladeshi view

By Razib Khan 11 Comments

A good review of the film Extraction by a Bangladeshi. The author perceives a pro-Indian and anti-Bangladeshi bias, which I didn’t really see, but your mileage may vary. But this part is of interest to me:

Extraction carries all the elements of the racist Islamophobic mindset: Muslims cannot run the state, they have many children, their economy is a criminal shambles, their country is uninhabitable, their leaders are outlaws, there is no human dignity anywhere. The colours of this Bangladesh are as yellow as the desert. In contrast, the views of Mumbai are full of turquoise light – neat, beautiful, and luxurious. Mumbai’s mafia child is capable of love; Tyler too is mourning the death of his child. Even villainous Saju has a beautiful family. These spices create empathy towards cruel protagonists.

Extraction was not Islamophobic. In fact, extraction seems to exist in a world where religion does not exist. Too often cultural criticism “fits” art into preexistent analytic frames. Some of the elements of Extraction are perfectly aligned with well-known motifs. Chris Hemsworth is a “Mighty Whitey” par excellence. But a Western watcher of the film would have no idea that Indians are mostly Hindu and Bangladeshis are mostly Muslim, and in fact, a Western watcher would not even know that these are religious people.

If I had to make an analogy, the Bangladesh depicted in the film seems most like the 1990s gangster-dominated Russia, with the aesthetic of 1990s Mogadishu.

The fundamental problem with a lot of modern criticism and analysis is to the fallback upon common arguments and analytic structures, which add nothing familiar, and simply reinforce the familiar.

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