February 22, 2020
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National Treasure

The mix of the past and the present is naive and at times downright silly but makes for fun viewing if you do not put your thinking caps on.

National Treasure
National Treasure
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Harvey Keitel, Jon Voight, Diane Kruger
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Rating: **

At one level, National Treasure can be dismissed as a sheer waste of the collective acting talent of Cage, Keitel and Voight. But the gentlemen can't really do much here other than just flow with the action and adventure of the narrative. And at times throw some balmy one-liners at the viewers and display loads of languid attitude.

Nicolas Cage is the eccentric and gifted Benjamin Franklin Gates, a treasure hunter whose sole aim in life is to hunt out the biggest treasure in the world, a booty no one believes exists, least of all Gates' own father (Voight). It has been hidden away by the founding fathers of America and they have left clues to the treasure all over—from the dollar bills to the clocks in the churches. The first clue is discovered in Charlotte, a ship unearthed by Gates in the snows of the Arctic. The antique pipe in the derelict ship leads to the biggest link in the chain—a map drawn at the back of the Declaration of Independence with invisible ink. Gates has to steal the most important American document before it gets into the hands of the British villains. After the well-intentioned heist, much of the film finds Gates running from the authorities and staying one step ahead of his enemies even as he deciphers more clues, solves the riddle and eventually hits upon America's greatest national treasure. In the mad chase, he moves from the Arctic to Washington to Philadelphia to New York to Boston. Finding the treasure helps him reinstate the lost honour of his family that had been disparaged for its "conspiracy theory". Needless to say, the discovery of the booty is also all about soppy American nationalism of the most cloying kind.

Despite this, the film has enough twists and turns to be surprisingly enjoyable. It attempts to weave in a web of history and mythology within which to locate the mystery of the lost treasure. There might be too many inaccuracies in the plot, the mix of the past and the present is naive and at times downright silly but makes for fun viewing if you don't put your thinking caps on. The film has enough to keep you involved without really taking your breath away. I just found the idea of stealing the Declaration very kooky and was constantly on the edge worrying about the well-being of the document. That's the power of Hollywood, making America and American concerns so universal. For no reason at all.

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Courtesy: Film Information

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