American film in the first decade of the 21st century became a cultural battleground on which a war of representation was waged, but did these films endorse the 'War on Terror' or challenge it? More than just reproducing these fears and fantasies, The 'War on Terror' and American Film argues that American cinema has played a significant role in shaping them, restructuring how audiences have viewed this most tumultuous of decades in particularly influential ways. This compelling and theoretically informed exploration of contemporary American cinema charts the evolution of the impact of 9/11 on Hollywood film through a range of genres - war films, superhero movies, historical dramas, horror and even alien invasion films - each revealing a cinema t of escapism but one that engages profoundly with the turbulent era in which their films were made. Through a vibrant analysis of films as diverse as War of the Worlds (2005), United 93 (2006), 300 (2007), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Zero Dark Thirty (2012), Marvel Avengers Assemble (2012) and many others, The 'War on Terror' and American Film explores the influence of the cultural trauma of 9/11 and the subsequent 'War on Terror' on American cinema in the first decade of the new millennium and beyond.
Terence McSweeney is Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, Southampton Solent University.