I went to see this film for the second time today, the day after Bush was elected to a second term. The film seemed to resonate more deeply with me today, particularly its sense of disbelief at the goings on in this country.

I'm not going to go through an elaborate plot description here. If you've seen it, you'll know what I'm talking about, if you haven't then it won't make sense anyway. It's a story about "existential detectives" and the world that several of their clients live in. It's an agressively weird and "quirky" film, sometimes offputtingly so. Still, I found many of the scenes and dialogue to be very clever and relevent to current events. Mark Wahlberg is perfect as the firefighter whose life has become unhinged after the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01. He's simply incredulous (as am I) that the world can go on as before with no real discussion about the effect of oil on geopolitical events, terrorism, or the environment. The sharpest scene in the movie is when he and Jason Schwartzman's character are engaged in a dinner discussion with a family of white Christian conservatives who have adopted an 18-year old orphan from Sudan. As the two kids at the table are caught up in the video games and pop culture that make up their insular world, Schwartzman and Wahlberg take on the father in some pretty heady debate. The scene sparkles in its alacrity and humor, and it's the high point in the film. Many other scenes are disappointingly flatter, but overall the movie succeeds in portraying the "island of existentialist angst" that can be found sporadically in our modern day, consumer driven society. As Dargas states in a positive Times review, "Knowledge may be power, but as the history of the post-1968 left in this country suggests, it can also be an excuse for factionalism, impotence, despair."

So here we are, set for four more years of Bush. During the last four years, they've dished out lies, deceit, and double talk, and the result has been a ballooning deficit, looming Social Security and health care crises, environmental damage, and a chaotic situation in Iraq. And yet Bush wins on "moral issues", whatever that means. And 11 states have passed referndums clarifying the definition of marriage. We've had a chance to make real inroads in providing more security and stablization for the world, and we're now moving in the wrong direction. It's surreal.