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

Date: 22 Jul 2008

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    Jordan wrote:

    "First of all, let me say I'm not trying to make a debate. Feel free to disagree with my opinions."

    Oh, I understand and appreciate that. While I may be attempting to debate, I don't think we'll end up changing each other's minds, I'm just interested in your thought process, interested in whether or not our differences are a matter of degree or completely different thinking. And your opinions make me examine the basis for mine. For example:

    "I do feel that Pesci's character in Good Fellas reveled in his sadism."

    I agree that the character revelled in his sadism. However, does that mean Scorsese (and Pileggi) is also revelling in it, by presenting it to the audience? Or is it offered as evidence of the character's, well, character? It's been a while since I've seen Good Fellas, but as I recall, Pesci's character was growing pretty likeable by that point in the film. That scene very effectively shakes the audience out of its growing tolerance, even affection for the character and reminds us who and what he really is. The Way of the Gun was particularly effective at this. Every time Longbaugh and Parker start to become sympathetic, McQuarrie (writer/director) shows them doing something despicable to remind us that they will do ANYTHING it takes to finish what they've started.

    And is the audience revelling in the sadism? Are they complicitous int he glorification?

    "However, I do realize the real mobster actually did those things."

    The factual basis doesn't much matter to me. For instance, while it may have really happened, Scorsese had a choice in what would be depicted and how. It could have happened outside of the frame or offscreen, could have just been referenced by one of the other characters. But Scorsese chose to show it graphically, and I think it needed to be seen for the character's nature to be understood.

    "With Tarantino, it's all fiction. I do feel there is a difference between the violence level in his movies as opposed to most Blaxploitation movies."

    We'll have to agree to disagree here. I think the difference is more a matter of budget than intent. The blaxploitation violence is so obviously faked that it is easier to laugh off.


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