But despite its flaws has an underlying structure that could have made for a great film. As time goes on, I’m beginning to realize a couple of things about Costner’s disaster epic. One, that it was perhaps an ill-timed film – perhaps made a decade too late or two decades too soon. And in the critical flaws of the film’s tone, particularly in the much dissed second half, could be much better interpreted in the real life dystopian Trumpian America of 2017.
Jean Baudrillard once made a startling claim, or perhaps it was more a kind of desecration of our shared illusion, when he stated that it is banal to claim that the apocalypse is in the future. Rather, the apocalyptic event is something that occurred in the past. It’s a kind of statement that is like tossing a rock into the middle of a pond, it’s ripples will find every edge of our social reality. The apocalypse is everywhere around us, we just have to be able to call it for what it is: the dystopia of the present. Much of our movie culture, as evidenced by the domination of Disney and Marvel blockbusters, is enthralled with fantasy, rosy hopes, and glossy, polished reflections of our spectacle. It takes a special motion picture to tear the veil away and have the courage to find the dignity within the desert of the real.