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Putin’s Rise to Pop Culture Humor

wantedposter071008.jpgFor the BBC, it’s a breaking news story; for author Steve LeVine, it’s the subject of his polemic new book; but for Anthony Lane, the rather apolitical film critic of the New Yorker, Vladimir Putin’s reputation for state-sponsored murder (deserved or not) is cause for some easy jokes. In his review of the Angelina Jolie-headlined summer action blockbuster “Wanted” (a film about a secret society of assassins directed by the famous Russian Timur Bekmambetov), Lane finds a way to drop Putin into some pop culture humor:

“Mind you, we never discover who orders the kills: it could be governments, businessmen, or bishops. Is the whole film no more than totalitarian housecleaning posing as democratic do-gooding, and, if so, who will screen it for Vladimir Putin?”

Ouch – is this perhaps what Bekmambetov is saying with the movie? Best to just stay in Hollywood if that’s the case. This of course isn’t the first time we have seen this kind of dark humor over Putinist Russia surface in the mainstream.