Search This Blog

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tarantino Films and violence in the media

All Tarantino films are violent, excluding stuff like My Best Friend's Birthday which doesn't really count as it was unfinished. This is not that surprising though as all movies are violent, it's just the way that modern cinema is. I mean there are exceptions but even discounting action and horror as genres there is still a shit ton of violent content out there, even in romantic comedies and the like with either verbal abuse or fights breaking out. This is also a problem in video games, but that is a whole different argument that needs to be approached in a different way. The main problem with all of this however is that one needs to look at more than just the violence in media to see why society has shaped itself the way it has.

Tarantino said it best in a recent interview. He just doesn't want to talk about violence in his films, it's not that he celebrates the violence or believes it's good, but he just believes he shouldn't have to explain away the offensive content in his art. He has been accused of adoring violence but showing it in such an aesthetically pleasing way like in the Kill Bill duology but that wasn't the point, not even of the first film which was much bloodier than the second. It was a tale of vengeance like an old-fashioned samurai movie and was about what revenge can do to people. It was also about continuing stories and how a newer generation can take an older as role models but that is a different examination.

The film that I most recently watched of Tarantino's, aside from Django Unchained, was Jackie Brown, one of his least violent films. Despite being much less violent than something like Pulp Fiction where a man's brains get blown across a car's back window and the protagonists have to pick it up it still has violence as a significant driving force of the film as the antagonist played by Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson kills one of his gang members to start the plot and ends up dying in a blaze of glory. The violence here is not shown in a positive or negative light, but it simply treated as a very matter of fact fact of life. It is just something that happens, from Indians and Cowboys as kids to the torture porn that was popular in the late 00's violence has been so ingrained in the culture that ignoring it is ignoring an enormous percentage of media.

I'm a pacifist, but still see these films as interesting examinations of the violence that pervades media, new and old. Django was an incredibly violent film, possibly the most violent western, but by establishing itself as a parody of what had come before it gets away with it and shows the terrible things that humanity has done to itself while at the same time shows how the media sometime enjoyed it. Admittedly there were some images in the film that were difficult to watch because of how brutal they were but that was the point, and Tarantino is right, he doesn't have to justify himself, he doesn't want to explore why he uses violence in his movies, about the implications of his films.

In the recent interview he simply shut down the question of violence, and declined to flesh out his opinions on violence as they are so overdone and everyone talks about it and repeats the same things over and over. He believes there is no correlation between violence in media and violence in real life and given that there were school shootings and serial killers before any modern media it seems there is a point. I'm going to conclude this by saying I never want to talk about violence in video games, even if I don't want to personally make violent video games I think that I'm with Tarantino, I don't want to talk about it, and sometimes it is just time to say no, I don't want to talk about your terrible argument with no basis, there's  no point in arguing some of these things as it is a losing argument, and one that has been argued for so long that everything has been said, and there is nothing more to say.

No comments:

Post a Comment