It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
For weeks now, we've been reading in the papers about public apologies by governments of the Eastern bloc. The Russians admit they were wrong to invade Afghanistan and Czechoslovakia. The East Germans tear down the Berlin Wall and denounce the secret luxuries of their leaders. The Poles and Hungarians say Marxism doesn't work very well.
There is a temptation for an American, reading these articles, to feel smug. And yet - hold on a minute, here. We had our own disastrous foreign policy mistake, the war in Vietnam. When is President Bush going to get up before Congress and read an apology to the Vietnamese? Never, is the obvious answer. We hail the Soviet bloc for its honesty but see no lessons for ourselves. And yet we have been issuing our own apologies, of a sort. A film like Oliver Stone's "Born on the Fourth of July" is an apology for Vietnam, uttered by Stone, who fought there, and Ron Kovic, who was paralyzed from the chest down in Vietnam.
Both of them were gung-ho patriots who were eager to answer their country's call to arms. When they came back home, they were still patriots, hurt and offended by the hostility they experienced from the anti-war movement.
Eventually, both men turned against the war, Kovic most dramatically. He and his wheelchair were thrown out of the 1972 Republican convention, but in 1976 he addressed the Democratic convention. And if you wanted to, you could say his 1976 speech was the equivalent of one of those recent breast-beatings in the Supreme Soviet. We do apologize for our mistakes in this country, but we let our artists do it instead of our politicians.