Violence in Movies

phillysports
The question of how much violence one can show in a movie has baffled filmmakers for decades. The rating system (which I think is completely broken and outdated) has done it's best to censor the violence that we see in films and categorizes them into different ratings ranking them based on how much blood is shed. People will always have different tastes when it comes to how much violence they can tolerate in a movie. There are those who can't tolerate a single thrown punch in a film, while scenes such as the landing at Normandy Beach in Saving Private Ryan are too tame for some people's liking. How much violence you show in a movie can have a profound effect on the viewer and how they view the film as a whole.

To further prove my point, here's a long quote from the master of incorporating violent, bloody scenes in movies: Quentin Tarantino.

"To me, violence is the purely esthetic thing. It has nothing political. There's no morality involved. It's purely esthetic. Me saying that I like violence in movies is like you saying you like musicals or you saying you like slapstick. Alright. If you say, "I don't like slapstick films", and I make the greatest slapstick comedy made since The General, you aren't gonna like it. No matter what I do and how brilliant it is, you aren't gonna like my movie. Alright, because you don't like slapstick comedy. Well that's fine, but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't make slapstick. Ya know, it's like, "Woah! My God! This guy's made a musical! Now everyone's gonna go out and make musicals and the songs will be bad!". Ya know, they might be. Don't go see 'em. To me, it's purely esthetic."

This interview was given in 1992 to promote Tarantino's first feature film Reservoir Dogs. The film is a violent masterpiece with murders, foul language, and beatings galore. But what really disturbed filmgoers was a little scene involving a character cutting another character's ear off while singing and dancing to the song "Stuck in the Middle With You". According to an old legend, several people at the Stiges Film Festival walked out of the theatre during the scene which included horror legend Wes Craven. He meant for Tarantino to take it as a compliment, noting the unnerving sense of realism in the film's violence. Tarantino, of course, responded with:

"It happens at every single screening. For some people the violence, or the rudeness of the language, is a mountain they can't climb. That's OK. It's not their cup of tea. But I am affecting them. I wanted that scene to be disturbing."

The big thing with violence in movies is HOW it's portrayed. If the Reservoir Dogs torture scene, the Battle of Normandy in Saving Private Ryan, or any of the battles in Braveheart were not realistic, no one would have much of a problem with them. It's that they are masterfully portrayed with intense angles, realistic special effects, and fantastic acting that pulls the viewer into the reality of the movie, and causes them to be disturbed as a result. If those scenes did not have any conviction put into them, they would lose their power and impact. Sharknado, for example, is hilarious due to the crappiness of the effects, acting, and the entire concept of the movie. That's why the viewer can handle someone jumping into a shark's mouth with a chainsaw a lot easier than Quint getting eaten alive by the shark in Jaws. It all depends on who's behind the film.

Like Tarantino said, there are just some genres of movies that people can't get behind. There are people who have prejudices towards comedies or animated films, who just can't get themselves to sit down and watch them. That doesn't take anything away from the quality of the movies in question. It's just the personal preference of the moviegoer. Violence is the same exact way. There are as many squeamish people in the world as blood-hungry people, so everyone will have a different reaction when they sit down to watch an R-rated slaughter fest. Violence is an integral part of humanity, so I feel that it's important to reflect that in our movies. Some people may disagree with that, and that's perfectly fine. It all just depends on how much blood you can handle in one sitting.

Comments

Great post. - ModernSpongeBobSucks

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