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Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive » Movie Violence

Movie Violence

While I’m a huge fan of so-called art-house films I am also a fan of big fuck-off blowing-shit-up action flicks, too. Sure, Con-Air was bad but 300 was good. These movies don’t require cleverness or depth or require a huge amount of artistic merit. They exist solely to feed the desire to see shit get fucked up. Because we can really only do it vicariously. Very few of us have ever had the chance to blow something up or shoot at people or get into awesome fights.

Overcoming Bias had posted something about movie violence the other day:

One reason that real violence looks so ugly is because we have been exposed to so much mythical violence. … Contemporary film style … may give many people the sense that entertainment violence is, if anything, too realistic. Nothing could be farther from the truth. … [They] miss the most important dynamics of violence: that it starts from confrontational tension and fear, that most of the time it is bluster, and that the circumstances that allow this tension to be over­ come lead to violence that is more ugly than entertaining. …

From the first chapter of Violence by Randall Collins.

I have previously made a note about violence in movies, specifically about Straw Dogs before and quoted this gem:

A more astute observer would say “Violence never solved anything such that both conflicting parties were equally satisfied with the outcome”. Violence creates two entities: A winner, and a loser. Losers don’t like to engage in violence because it will make their plight both obvious and inescapable. Winners may avoid violence if there are less expensive ways to win, ie trade or psychological manipulation.

But there isn’t a whole lot of room for moral pondering in movies like this. You can do it, but it detracts from the entertainment value. I’ll take the eye-candy for what it is: eye candy. Some things just don’t need to be analyzed to death.

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