Fahrenheit 451 (2018) Ramin Bahrani
To be blunt, Fahrenheit 451 is a bore and this iteration of Ray Bradbury’s classic story delivers only social engineering propaganda, inversion, compliancy programming — and, unsurprisingly, lots of All-Seeing-Eye symbolism.
The future that defines Fahrenheit 451 has that familiar Orwellian dread associated with information suppression and rewritten histories. It is a place where language is minimized and words are redefined and made obsolete. But unlike 1984, the future here is made to be bright and ever so interactive, digitally of course, with social media participation part of book burnings which are projected onto buildings and public surfaces so that they can’t be avoided. The reactions of viewers are recorded as in a livestream with trails of hearts, smiley faces and fire emojis accompanying the burn footage. The ever present emoji and the extensive use of them symbolizes the de-evolution of language. The people in this future have fully embraced the inversion of reality and see information as dangerous and those who obtain it as their enemies. And just like the snitches and Karens on our streets and on social media today, they celebrate the demise of those with thoughts and intelligence obtained outside of the pre-determined arenas of ‘learning’. The social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google, Amazon, etc., are the book burning staging areas of today with tech giants, actively censoring, deleting accounts, shadow banning and making no qualms about doing so in their terms of service. And this is where the indoctrinated enforcers of totalitarian rule entertain themselves and gather their information to be used against others.
Scenes of learning are depicted with both kids and adults, seated in neat rows, attentive— compliant-ready cyborgs trained to respond as the control system dictates. The Upside Down has claimed them, but they will never know.
Fahrenheit 451 employs the repetitive programming and public advertising slogans similar to the inverted truth slogans of 1984, such as Ignorance is Strength. Here some of their slogans like Freedom is Choice may have the ring of truth, but the reality is that gaslighting has evolved from simple inversion of truth to redefining lifestyles and labeling them the opposite from what they actually are. It’s an insidious tactic to use on a population that has been trained not to think for itself and can’t reach any real conclusions on their own.
Bradbury’s plot is merely a convenient contrivance to insert social agendas into propaganda designed as ‘entertainment’. The fires of racial division are kept pathetically alive here, when instead of simply casting a black male actor in the lead to portray a character, he has to be subjected to racism within the script, being called “Boy” and subtle indignities that should have no place in this story, but it serves to fan flames of division and social unrest proving that racism is ever so near and dear to the heart of Hollywood.
Snitches are also glorified in this movie. In fact, the entire thread of action is provided by a snitch who reveals the secret locations of her own people. She’s a traitor to what she professes to believe in. Over and over she reports the whereabouts of intelligent non-conformists who are then captured and die because of her underhanded selfishness. And yet this is the heroine of the film! How repulsive that the inversion of thought and emotion is not something that not just victimizes the people in the film, it is for the audience as well.
The conformist sheeple are seen very little, their lives being presumably compartmentalized and self-contained. The one scene showing people out in public is depressing to the extreme and predicts our own globalist conditions under the farcical Covid-19 charade. In a nightclub scene, a visually cold, glass and chrome designed space, every person is seen with virtual reality goggles, interacting with no one but the matrix. A wide shot reveals that all these people are evenly spaced and separated by at least 6’ on every side, not unlike the demarcation lines and circles we all know so well.
Will the conformists of today only ever be able to see this film as ‘entertainment’? Has programming blinded them to what oppression looks and feels like? Is that cheering and applause I hear at the news of more books being banned from Amazon and more deleted Facebook accounts?
This review first appeared in the print version of Victims of Cinema. The first 50 reviews can be obtained HERE.