The core and periphery dependency: Total Recall

I just found out that the movie was a remake of Arnold Scwarzenegger’s 1990 film of the same name, so I won’t be able to judge how poorly/well-made this re-boot was. However, when I first saw the trailer months before, I’ve been intrigued of the story’s premise — I always like a good mix of sci-fi/action, which Mon can’t quite understand. So when I finally convinced him to watch it in the cinema last Saturday (on a sold-out screening), I can’t help but think in terms of familiar themes. To be more precise, I was constantly reminded of the core-periphery dependency.

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You can’t fault me. I’ve spent the last two or more months reviewing for my comprehensive exams and I’ve noticed that I have now a much better appreciation of Karl Marx and Marxism than before. Not claiming that I’m an expert on this subject, but the exams had this interesting effect on me. Since I’ve started reviewing, I began looking at movies in a different way. Earlier this month, I’ve watched “The Dictator” and all I can think of while watching was realism and nuclear deterrence. Now in “Total Recall”, on the grounds of the Marxist Theories of IR, the core-periphery clicked immediately when I saw the United Federation of Britain and the (aptly-named) Colony exhibiting this relationship of dependency.

(Photo from

In a nutshell, the dependency theory is an extension of Marx’s ideals (of class conflict, bourgeoisie’s exploitation of the proletariat, and emancipation) in the international realm. Vladimir Lenin first described this relationship in “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism”, and was extended by the Latin American Dependencia, and was furthermore elaborated and developed by Immanuel Wallerstein in his World-Systems Theory. Here, the developed core (UFB) exploits the periphery (Colony) and was excellently shown in the daily transport of cheap labor from the latter to the former through this highly-advanced transport technology called “The Fall” (which traverses deep inside the Earth. I have lots of issues with this one. But hey, it is science fiction and who knows, maybe in the next 80 years, towards the end of this century, an alloy will be invented strong enough to withstand the extreme temperature and pressure inside Earth. Not to mention, I don’t think that the Colony [in what used to be Australia] was the antipode of the UFB [formerly United Kingdom]. However, looking back at what I saw from the movie, The Fall was not even piercing through the core so they were not really antipodes, anyway).

The people of the Colony living in relative squalor compared to the sleek, shiny, upscale life of the UFB residents, naturally led them to resist this oppression and exploitation. The rich getting richer, the poor getting poor, with the accumulation of wealth on one end renders the accumulation of poverty on the other.

Capitalism is deemed to be doomed to fail because of its inherent instability. As a Marxist prescription, then, emancipation is the key through the realization of the oppressed that a change should be in order and the relations of production to be dismantled (albeit through the relatively small-numbered resistance led by Matthias). The fall of “The Fall” signfied a long awaited emancipation of the periphery from the core.

Of course, the movie is not a definitive and clear depiction of the theory (even if the world was precisely divided between ONLY two poles) , but it was actually nice to watch it with an interesting perspective. I really liked Kate Beckinsale’s gorgeous hair and her malevolent aura was so bad-ass I wanted to get hair extensions.


This is my hundredth post! ^.^


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