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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Mechanic

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

In "The Mechanic" (CBS), director Simon West's violence-fueled remake of the 1972 thriller starring Charles Bronson, a duo of criminals spend their days planning creative ways to kill people for money -- then executing those plans -- and their nights trolling the brothels of their native New Orleans in search of base physical satisfaction.

An unwholesome daily routine, to say the least, and not one likely to attract an audience of taste.

The heir to Bronson's role as crack assassin-for-hire Arthur Bishop is brooding he-man Jason Statham.

Early on, machinations at the top levels of the shadowy organization for which Bishop works -- presided over by callous company man Dean Sanderson (Tony Goldwyn) -- lead to the murder of Bishop's mentor Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland). That leaves Harry's volatile, ne'er-do-well son Steve (Ben Foster) broke, bitter and spoiling for a fight.

So, somewhat improbably, Bishop takes on the hot-headed lad as an apprentice. But, by contrast to Bishop's methodical approach to his work -- his motto, inherited from Harry, is "amat victoria curam" (loosely, "victory favors the well-prepared") -- Steve proves to be a careless, vengeance-hungry loose cannon.

Though the script by Richard Wenk and Lewis John Carlino -- Carlino also penned the 1972 screenplay -- includes some clever plot turns, these all too often result in blood-spattered scenes of mayhem. Similarly, Bishop and Steve's sleazy encounters with prostitutes in the Crescent City's underworld -- during one of which Steve's taste for brutality in all its forms comes to the fore -- are portrayed with undue explicitness.

The film contains excessive gory violence, some of it sadistic; strong sexual content, including graphic scenes of prostitution, lesbian-themed pornography and nongraphic male homosexual activity; upper female and brief rear nudity; a half-dozen uses of profanity; and much rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Augustine of Hippo: A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. 
<p>There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother (August 27), the instructions of Ambrose (December 7) and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love. </p><p>Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism. </p><p>In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).</p> American Catholic Blog Silence is the ability to trust that God is acting, teaching, and using me—even before I perform or after my seeming failures. Silence is the necessary space around things that allows them to develop and flourish without my pushing. God takes it from there.

 
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