I just finished watching Olympus Has Fallen, and I have to admit, I was completely unprepared for the visceral reaction I was going to have to the imagery in this film. The story surrounds a modern day depiction of a successful occupation of the power center of the United States – The White House. Even writing those words sends a chill up my spine.
I love my country, I love Washington, D.C., and I love the White House – not for its politics – but for its symbolism, its history, its culture, and for the hope that it represents even in the darkest of times. When I visit our capital I have feelings stirred in me that I imagine cannot be stirred nowhere else. That being said, some of the imagery in this film had my stomach in knots. I repeatedly had to tell myself it is just a movie. This depiction of the White House falling is visually as real as I would ever want to see. It hurt to see monuments I treasure, to see halls that I have had the privilege to roam marred with bullet holes, soot and blood of the men and women serving in it. In this sense – watching this movie is a truly horrific experience.
That said I cannot say that the story is realistic (thank god). The choices made, the portrayal of the decisions that occur and the manner in which events unfold make it clear that this is a work of fiction. This is an action movie – make no mistake. The characters are important but the action is the star of this film. Gerard Butler plays the one man army that every action story needs, and that every boy wants to grow up to be. Dylan McDermott – I’ve never cared for Dylan, which says something about his acting because it is his characters that I do not like – and I fucking HATE him in this film. That’s all I can say without getting into spoilers. As one can expect Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart turn in absolutely wonderful performances in the roles that they portray.
This movie is not for the faint of heart. It is graphic, violent and is an assault on the sensibilities of anyone who has ever loved or served this country. I found myself talking to the screen, shaking my head at some things said and in several instances looking away from the screen because I could not stomach what I was seeing. The film is a success in that it makes you truly imagine what an incident like this would be like. It is an edge of the seat look at what is one of this country’s deepest fears – a decapitation attack on our government.
If you are having trouble determining if I actually enjoyed this film – I enjoyed it in the way one enjoys a roller coaster ride or a haunted house. It is a well-made film that that shows something I would never want to see or experience in the real world. I recommend that anyone who likes action films see this movie, but be prepared for what you are actually going to see. “Olympus has fallen” will make you believe that nothing – even the white house – is safe from attack.