Yes, I have seen Steve McQueen’s film, but this is not a review because what I really want to write about is this: David Cox’s ignorant, vituperative rant against the film on the Guardian’s Film blog. His post is so offensive it’s hard to know where to start, but I’ll give it a lash anyway.
“Far from being shocked at seeing the inmates roughed up a bit, I found myself wishing they’d been properly tortured, preferably savagely, imaginatively and continuously.” Er, let’s assume he’s just being provocative here, because the alternative – that he’s some kind of torture voyeur that would be happy snapping alongside the rest at Abu Ghraib – is a little hard to stomach. Because, Mr Cox, we’ve been through this. Those who perpetrate torture in the employ of the state are reviled and repudiated when their actions come to light. It’s banality-of-evil, stuff, if you want to look into it. Once you brush up on those “administrative conditions” in the North that the irritating Irish were so chafing against; the political aims of the IRA; and — this one’s important — how not to make your clinical sadism clearly apparent in copy, you should go ahead and make that film you want to make, the torture-porn epic celebrating Britain’s role in the Troubles. Maybe you can play Captain John Bull and your character can mete out some ‘heroic’ treatment of the Irish. A fine vicious Celtic romance, to be sure.