Let’s get two things out of the way:
1) Chinatown is fabulous movie. Rosemary’s Baby is a very good movie, too.
2) Both are weird and creepy, however.
Now, I honestly don’t know what justice is in the case. The facts, as they are discussed, seem pretty bad to me, and if true, the “let bygones be bygones” sentiment seems pretty expedient rather than just. However, I don’t know what happened for sure.
What I do know for sure is that it takes a pretty big ego ask the French President to carry a letter from you to the American president. Polanski had President Sarkozy deliver a letter to Obama where Polanski states his case and why he should be allowed a pardon: La lettre de Polanski à Obama – LExpress.fr (In French).
Yeah, sure, these two world leaders could squander their time talking about the crumbling world economy or the looming catastrophe of global warming, or the oil that is spreading across the ocean, or a whole host of things that might be, well, important to the running of the world. Or they can spend their time on you and your problem. Hmmm.
Then, there’s the fact that Barack Obama is not Santa Claus. Do they not have lawyers in whatever countries Roman has his various and sundry villas? Did nobody explain before he did this that not only is Barack Obama not Santa Claus, a pardon from him is not relevant here? Do I just misunderstand constitutional law? Did the letter contain instructions to Obama “Pssst…tell Schwartzenegger that he’s not getting any more HSR money unless he pardons Polanski.”?
But what really annoys me here is that Sarkovsky did it. If I wanted a pardon for anybody in my family, I would have no such means to grab the attention of my own governors or presidents–even though they are more accountable to me than Obama is to Polanski. But because Polanski is a celebrity, he has a president acting as a mailman to my president. Blech.
Celebrity culture: I generally don’t spend much time thinking about it, and I have a suspicions of people who tear their hair and say we are going to hell in a hand basket. But these types of stories do strike me as a sign that priorities are screwed up.