The film "Underground" is a reflection of social reality. It is also a satirical look at the so-called people in power or those who discriminate against human rights. The film's overall look is like a game of killing between cats and mice, but it actually exposes a story of illegal workers being discriminated against and killed by white people. It also reflects the darkness of human nature, the stress, oppression, discrimination, and status of people living at the bottom of society. Through the film, we can see the hidden evil that hides under the mask of kindness. The rich thrive by oppressing the people at the bottom of society.
The film, which dates back to 2018, was directed by Max Pachman, the screen play was written by Mark Mavrothalasitis / Max Pachman, and it starred Lynn Collins, Rigo Sanchez, and Jose Aguirre.
The film tells the story of many foreign immigrants who line up in front of a metal ware store to earn a meagre living wage just by working for someone they never meet.
Some workers without proper visas are taken to work at Liz Rhodes’ home. They are two brothers and two others who hope to make a living (because they have no official visa and identity and because they came to the country illegally, so they have to work illegally). What happens next is unexpected. At first they aren’t treated badly as they help their employer, Liz Rhodes, to renovate her house.
However, as time passes by, they gradually find that the employer no longer treats them the same, and the courtyard of the home has changed. The enclosed courtyard walls are electrically wired and the gate is operated by remote control. Only the employer can enter and exit the gate. Although they’re aware of the problem and try to get the remote control to get out the gate, it is too late for one of the workers to try to steal the keys. He is shot dead by his employer. The two brothers and the other man have to be obedient. The employer threatens them with guns, forces them to learn English, make them wipe the bloodstains of the dead person from the floor, and bury them under the ground. Eventually, the remaining three men escape and are caught, and the film ends with the rest of the men fighting the employer. The employer is killed. One of the remaining men works hard to earn enough money to help his wife and children sneak in the country and live with him.
Of course, the film has a lot of other storylines, but it ultimately highlights this question—where is the hope for those who live at the bottom of society? Even if persons are in a country illegally, should their human rights be flouted? Should they work without pay and should they be abused till they lose their lives? For the vulnerable who are oppressed by society, when they live in their own place and are never able to feed themselves they may go to work elsewhere to make a temporary living. If possible, their family situation will gradually get better.
The story in the film may not have happened in China, but it occurs a lot abroad. For making a living, many people have left their homes and smuggled into other countries, but these people are targeted by outlaws so much that they are maimed and ill-treated.
The immediate response I had to the film was that life was not easy. When I live in a comfortable environment, I shouldn't ignore those who are suffering from life stress and pain including those who are being treated unfairly. As a Christian, we can't just look after ourselves being so cold. Everyone has the right to live and we cannot discriminate against them to show off our own sense of superiority because we have been redeemed and should help those who are hopeless to find hope and to find redemption.
Why is there racial discrimination? It is because of pride, selfish desire, and the sense of superiority. Many people have the mentality of wanting to gain without pain. The charity may mask voices of intimidation, for instance, the employer in the film wants to control and manipulate others. More importantly, he uses the kindness of the people at the bottom of society to serve himself. Meanwhile, he commits murder and believes that the law has no power over him because he believes that these people are illegals.
As Christians, we may also face a similar dilemma. What are our choices when faced with the bullying of vulnerable groups, or when it comes to an unfair environment to the others? Do you let your selfish desires swell or stick to the bottom line of faith and social morality? When we choose pity and love, God will do the same to us, as it is said: "I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. Surely the righteous will praise your name, and the upright will live in your presence." (Psalm 140:12-13)
- Translated by Charlie Li