Stuck is a movie I’d really rather not watch, but I think I’m going to have to see it. I don’t like seeing blood and gore, and Stuck has plenty of it, according to what I’ve read. But the movie juxtaposes a horrific, real life event against a callous bureaucracy, and that’s why I think I’m going to have to see it.
Not yet having seen it, everything I write here is based on what I’ve read, so even if the movie itself turns out to be thoroughly dreadful, it at least has this brilliant concept behind it.
Stuck is based on the true story of a Texas homeless man being hit by a car and becoming stuck in the windshield. The woman driving the car at first headed to a hospital but then decided to drive home, park in her garage, and just wait for the man to die, thinking she would be able to fix it so no one would know she had hit him.
In the movie, the story line prior to the man getting stuck in the windshield shows him stuck in quite another way—he’s thoroughly stuck in the bureaucracy. He encounters unfeeling bureaucrats who are no more helpful than the woman who leaves him bleeding out on her windshield. The lack of caring is the same, and while death by bureaucracy might happen in a completely bloodless way, struggling to get oneself unstuck can prove just as dangerous as what the poor homeless fellow experiences as he tries to free himself from the windshield.
Moreover, in the film the woman who hit him starts blaming him for having messed things up for her! How much like too many bureaucrats is that?? I really do sympathize with low-level bureaucrats who work mostly thankless, low paying jobs. But the people who show up at their stations looking for help are not to blame, though they’re often treated that way.
An interesting aside: This IF Magazine review (click here) by Abbie Bernstein ends with a reference to the “banality of evil,” which is Hannah Arendt‘s phrase from her writing about the Eichmann trial, while elsewhere she wrote about bureaucracy as “rule by Nobody.” I wonder if Bernstein was aware of that when she referred to “the banality of evil” in her review?
In the true story, the homeless man, 37-year-old Gregory Glen Biggs, died over a period of two or three days, stuck in the windshield with the car parked in the woman’s garage. The medical examiner said he would have survived had he been given medical attention.
It will take more than a trip to an ER to fix our bureaucracies.