Nov 30, 2008

Cloak & Dagger

*Spoilers in 5th paragraph*

Cut to a winter night in a foreign land. The key irresponsible Russian guard wanders off into the parking lot. Being a sentry is never a forgivable role for a counter-terrorist. In the frosty sky, we see a patriotic parachute deploy. This marks the arrival of a modern mustachioed warrior who stops at nothing other than to tackle the poor guard out of the sky. All this, then crippling a young lady. Meet the man known as Jack Flack; a super agent, womanizer, and professional alpha male.

Cloak & Dagger was a must for me to purchase. Not for the classic game nostalgia but thanks to the reality of it being apart of a double feature package - the counterpart being the obligatory Fred Savage/Nintendo vessel known as The Wizard. I can't help myself. I love The Wizard. It's so bad! (End The Wizard reference). While Cloak & Dagger is a swell thriller guised as a compatible family film, something sinister lurks behind the prissy rating. Something dark and recessive. What lies beneath is a level of psychological dementia with a child playing the part of a victim. Cloak & Dagger never really was a game to begin with.

Little Davey has an imaginary spy friend who's a character in his favorite role-playing game. Davey is a seeker of thrills and has an active imagination. Throughout the course of the film, you'll be thinking to yourself words like "normal" and "acceptable". Thanks to the generation of parents turning to Ritalin for their children who never met expectations, Cloak & Dagger is an attack on the malleability of a child's mind. This film is a piece of propaganda telling you that your kid is in fact, screwed beyond repair and that the mind taking control is something that is forced by parental shunning and trauma.

Director Richard Franklin isn't a sheltered fan of Hitchcock. Inspired by the master of suspense's work, Franklin helmed the needless sequel to Psycho - Psycho II. In fact, the old couple had starring roles in the original psycho including John McIntire who played Al Chambers and Jeanette Nolan who did the voice for Norma Bates. As this film being a suspense film directed towards the younger audience, I'd say that Franklin did a marvelous job at slowly shining light to the terrific terror one can feel thanks to the wonders of cinema. Individualism is cast out for the revered Atari boom. Consider this Hitchcock's ode to technology and the death to the scholarly child.

As for the multi-angled ending, one might misconstrue the endings true intention. I don't favor the idea of singling out an idea and solidifying it to be the definitive vision of said artist, but with Cloak & Dagger, it's a must. The ending summarizes with Jack Flack dying, leaving the boy with a fresh mind only to have his father seemingly die in an exploding airplane. What becomes of this is a silhouette of Jack Flack's figure changing into that of his dad. One could easily accept the PG roots and deem his father an impossibly lucky bastard but the idea of him swapping heroes at the last second and becoming a woeful orphan fits the equation so much easier. Either way, Davey will never be the same again.

Whether you notice Jack Flack attempting to coerce young Davey into slaughtering people cause it's "all apart of the game" or the undeniable rip off that is Home Alone 3, Cloak & Dagger has aged extremely well. I dearly miss able child stars. I'd trade Henry Thomas over Freddie Highmore any given dawn. Cloak & Dagger is sadistic in nature and a delicious piece of Atari product placement. While Nintendo was busy fronting the "Radical!" 80s rebel attitude, Atari was catering to the bespectacled geek era. Who knew interactive technology could inspire cultures and fashions.


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