Three Days of the Condor is one of my favorite films and one of a very few performances by Robert Redford I’ve ever enjoyed. Redford’s character is One Guy going up against a deep state version of the CIA. In Condor, even an Alsatian assassin played by Max Von Sydow behaves more honorably than anyone at the agency.
Then came Matthew Broderick in WarGames. Then-president Ronald Reagan was so alarmed by the movie that he was inspired to create the Strategic Defense Initiative, then disparagingly referred to as Star Wars.
Today, we have Donald Trump and he’s been raised throughout his middle age on the less-artful successors to Condor, films with characters like Jason Bourne.
The Bourne films are predicated on a hero who is a true rogue…someone rejected by the very deep state agency that created him.
In film after film, this lone man against the deep state hero has become the most consistent, commercially reliable action-adventure plot vehicle of our time.
Donald Trump believes, down to the marrow of his bone, that he is Jason Bourne.
Now, the final irony.
Each of these films are the creation of the very same left-leaning entertainment industry that now despises Trump but also created Donald Trump the reality television star and, eventually, Donald Trump the viable political candidate, and now the president of the United States.
In the days of WarGames Reagan was excoriated for the SDI. But, SDI was a rational response to the general message of WarGames; that complex systems are prone to unanticipated failure, no matter how well intended the governmental agency behind the system may be. Reagan may have been wrong or misguided, but his concerns were derived from a reasonable fictional construct.
Trump is unbound by such constructs. His fantasy about a deep state, even a deep state that he is the head of, is complete.
And, we have Hollywood at least partly to thank for his certitude.