Heroes on the home front : heroism and virtue in post-9/11 American cinema /
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This thesis is intended to contribute to critical discussion of the American male hero in mainstream American war and action films post September 11, 2001 . The thesis investigates how these heroes' behaviour echoes a patriotic, conservative construction of the modern American as created through speeches given by George W. Bush in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001 . The thesis examines the hero in six primary sources: the war films We Were Soldiers, Behind Enemy Lines and The Great Raid and the action films Collateral Damage, Man on Fire and The Punisher. By analyzing the ideological subtext, political content, visual strategies and generic implications of the films, as well as the binary constructions of a selection of Bush speeches, and by reviewing historical representations of American male heroes on film produced in the wake of political events, the thesis concludes that the six films mobilize the USA's conservative viewpoint towards war and military action, and in concert with the speeches, contribute to an ongoing militarization of visual culture. Both systems echo a dangerous ideological fantasy of American history, life and patriotism.