Re: glorifying violence (was Re: RARA-AVIS: Elmore Leonard)

Date: 21 Jul 2008

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    Thanks for answering my question. With the exception of Natural Born Killers (which, by the way, is extremely different from Tarantino's screenplay, not that it's much better; the Belgian film Man Bites Dog did the idea much better, as QT has also said) and From Dusk to Dawn, I like the films you didn't, like all the films he directed himself (agree he's the worst actor in the world, though). However, I can think of other films that do strike me the way those did you (I tend to avoid slasher films, for instance). So I think it may just be a matter of different thresholds that separates us.

    I also agree that seeing it and reading about it can provoke very different reactions. But again we disagree on the specifics. For instance, I thought Caught Stealing was great, and often funny. However, I stopped reading Rex Miller's Slob.

    Gotta ask, though: you said you watched Jackie Brown for Pam Grier. How is its violence any more excessive than Foxy Brown, Coffy or Friday Foster? Or than many other blaxploitation films?

    Still, this discussion intrigues me. For instance, is excessive violence the same as glorified violence? Yes, Pesci's character in Good Fellas was excessively violent, but glorification implies to me an endorsement and I don't see Scorsese as endorsing Pesci's violence.

    There's also the distinction between act and depiction. Is any depiction of an act of violence a violent depiction? Or does it depend upon how graphically it's shown and/or its context? For instance, it's hard to think of a movie more excessively violent than Saving Private Ryan, but does it glorify? And old noir films probably have at least as many, if not more, acts of violence than contemporary films, but those acts were not shown so graphically. So are they less violent? And is a moral at the end of, say, a gangster film enough to overwhelm the violence that brought him to power?

    I keep thinking of Pelecanos's shootouts in this context. His heroes, to varying degrees, try to avoid violence, save it as a last resort. And they are always affected by having to resort to violence, but they do. So is its inevitable necessity a tacit endorsement, even glorification? Or is it a warning?

    Oh, by the way, if you don't like Tarantino's violence, steer very clear of Takashi Miike.


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