Take a Drink: when movies and reality blur
Take a Drink: for straight Privilege
Take a Drink: for incredible risk-taking
Take a Drink: for OCD
Do a Shot: for toilets
By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
I’ve visited 30 countries, the lion’s share while travelling solo, and have found myself in more than a few sketchball situations, some of which I shudder to look back on. The fact I met plenty of thieves, but no robbers so far shows how lucky I am.
The guy who pulled a kitchen knife on me outside a Peruvian nightclub doesn’t count because I kept the 5 soles ($1.60).
I’ve got nothing on Matthew Vandyke. He’s the young Baltimore native you might remember from the news, who fought with Libyan rebels and underwent a six month stint in one of Qaddafi’s prisons.
As Vandyke tells his incredible story, which begins well before the Arab Spring on a long motorcycle trip spanning fending off Barbary Apes on Gibraltar to crossing into Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran at pretty much the worse time to do any of those things.
I wasn’t ballsy enough for that, but I did have to jack a Barbary Ape in the face after stupidly ignoring the Do Not Feed the Apes sign
On a trip to Libya he made some good friends, and when the Arab Spring spread to Libya he decided to join the revolutionaries, his video camera in hand the whole time. There are two fascinating effects of this- an incredibly first person narrative from someone not unlike us, deftly communicating the joy and thrill of entering parts unknown, and an impressively layered and not a little ambiguous entry into this man’s psyche and versions of truth he tells and perhaps even believes. He projects that uncanny, almost off-putting confidence all the best liars do, and while I don’t think he’s lying, he himself introduces questions of perception and embellishment.
In my case, that punch may have been more of a frantic slap
As you wonder how much of this narrative is crafted or spun, or watch him take on the pseudonym ‘Max Hunter’ and play with knives for a bit, and examine the links between fearlessness and insecurity, it’s hard not to see yourself looking back in the mirror, particularly if you’re a man, double particularly if you weren’t that jock or social circle czar in high school.
I wore a fedora for two years in Peru, and I’m only slightly ashamed of it.
One last fascinating revelation of the film is how this Hollywood and Facebook-saturated mindset has bled into real War. From palling around with U.S. soldiers to fighting in Libya, Vandyke observes the modern fascination with documenting everything- badass selfies and cell phone videos of everything from shooting off big guns to beating Qaddafi to death. This is real life now, as disturbingly surreal it might seem.
Throughout all this, filmmaker Marshall Curry lets Vandyke tell his own story as he wants to tell it- documenting the erstwhile and perhaps untrustworthy documentarian. It’s the perfect approach, until he strays from it in the end (and a little in the beginning, leading with the ‘Max Hunter’ call-forward). The scene where he asks Vandyke if he ever killed anybody, then cuts to footage of him being set up to kill an enemy combatant, then breathlessly pauses with some childhood footage before telling us whether he did kill the man is undeniably effective, but also disappointingly transparent string-pulling.
Point and Shoot is a gripping tale of adventure-seeking taken perhaps too far, and a fascinating delving into a quite common example of the modern male psyche.