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The Underneath (1995)

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Opening Shots: Brazil

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From Raymond Ogilvie, happyreflex:

This is really the second shot, following a brief bit of above-cloud photography. Let's not be too picky.

It starts with a TV set turning on. A suitable enough opening that many films have used. We know that when the movie starts with some TV, always with a healthy dose of analogue noise, we're being greeted by a commentary on the movie's world before we enter it. The TV set itself has a retro-futuristic design; the kind that was popular at least from the 20s into the 50s. All smooth curves, no sharp angles. Red and blue lights outside blink on and off, casting subtle glows onto the scene.

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The TV shows a commercial from Central Cervices. An imposing logo and a happy little jingle: "Central Services. We do the work, you do the pleasure!" And already we don't trust them! It's a very Orwellian thing. We've lost freedom of choice in this society, and that's exemplified here by Central Services. All our home repair needs are now taken care of by official government employees, who can be as inefficient, bureaucratic, and unaccountable for their own blunders as they please. The customer comes last.

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Now here’s the Central Services spokesperson. He’s here to tell us about how we can replace our old, unsightly ducts with newer, more fashionable unsightly ducts. They just get in the way and clutter up your living space, don’t they? The ducts are just like the bloated, bureaucratic government: they exist only for their own benefit. The public is an afterthought. You’ll see just how little the bureaucracy cares about human beings when the innocent Mr. Buttle is wrongly arrested and accidentally killed during interrogation, and no one feels any remorse: they just don’t want to be stuck with the paperwork.

Movie Answer Man

Movie Answer Man (05/07/1995)

Q. We saw "The Madness of King George" the other night. Pretty good. However, the first scene showed some heavy wooden doors. As the camera panned in you could read the graffiti carved on the doors. The most prominent was the date "1867." It bothered the heck out of me to start the movie with this obvious continuity issue. Was this a director's idea of a joke or an IQ test ? (John T. Bear, Atlanta, Ga.)