Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Amerika. Reflections - Part 2

"Nobody wanted to risk anything for anybody else. Everybody was afraid they were going to lose what they had. They knew it was bad. They were just afraid it'd get worse. That's all they lived for – for things not to get worse."

The above quote is spoken by Devin Milford's character in the miniseries Amerika. The pathos of Milford is readily seen throughout the series. He is viewed as a natural born leader. He left home to fight in Vietnam, which was still sore subject in the 1980s. The overused trope of the father son conflict is shown as generational in the miniseries. The relationship between Devin and his father is strained at best, and we learn of just how bad it is between Devin and his youngest son, though, it can be argued that this broken relationship is not really due to Devin, but rather his ex-wife, who is an avowed communist. Devin's family is indicative of how, at least to Hollywood, middle America struggles to survive in a soviet run district. His sister is a teacher, who secretly sleeps with the Russian major who is in charge of the local security district. Devin's older brother is the sheriff who seeks to walk a fine line between his world and the soviet run government.

Everything comes to head when Devin comes home after being in a soviet gulag for many years. Considered to be rehabilitated, he travels from Fort Davis, Texas to Milford, Nebraska. He meets many people on his way who recognize him and want to know what happened to him. The soviets wanted to control him, yet, he planned on resisting them, even if it is in the smallest way possible.

"I'm not going to accept the breakup of America. I'll resist with my spirit; I'll resist with my life. I can resist because I've found the love of my children; the possibility that their lives are more important than my own. I'll live through my children - through whatever good and true things I might have taught them, or the legacy of fear I might have left them. Each of us will find our best selves, or our worst selves - and in finding that, immortality."

Kris Kristofferson plays Devin Milford with a ring of authenticity. You feel his pain, his joy, and his resistance to hard mailed authority, regardless of its source. He in many respects plays the everyman that many Americans consider themselves to be.

In part three I will discuss the Russian characters of Amerika.

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