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matt

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on implausible execution [Apr. 4th, 2005|12:55 am]
matt
[Current Mood |boredbored]

Saw Sin City this weekend, just like just about everyone else I know.

All in all, I wasn't thrilled with it. I mean, the flesh was great, and so was the blood. But, I was expecting a bit more of something, i guess, and just left feeling unsatisfied.

There's a line in "Serial Mom", where one of the horror fan kids is recounting the murder she just witnessed, and says "It wasn't anything like the movies: it was real!" And, by and large, I think one of the problems I have with movies which involve a lot of violence, is the overall implausibility. There's violence of a style, a la Kill Bill, which is not my target here. I realize that there are a wide degree of injuries and that different people can survive different levels of injury. I also realize that different types of weapons cause different levels of damage. There's also certain types of violence that I'm just as happy isn't at all real, because anything approaching the real thing would make me sick. But, in this case, I think i was letting myself be pissed off by the implausibility of the violence because I was bored, that my brain wasn't being given enough to chew.

There was an emphasis played on how artistic a killer could be. Now, there are two forms of art in my book: realism, and abstraction. Here, the emphasis was on realism, and the use of abstraction is generally a form of overemphasis, like a homunculus map of sensation. These characters are supposed to be exaggerated, the very best at what they do absent the stereotyped moral constraints. The prostitution in old town is unconstrained by the mob and the police: just like Paine- "it is impossible to derive happiness from the company of those whom we deprive of happiness". Therefore, they are hyper erotic- better than any urbane flesh. The heroes are beyond good: they are justifiable in their evil, and can peer into truth deeper than most. They are consumed with putting right which is out of place. The bad guys are beyond evil: they eat flesh, the "most abhorrent" act of inhumanity.

However, the killing, the shooting, seems to be a complete artistic failure. Shots fired randomly, and striking kill zones, do not kill. Some shots kill in one clean blow, when the exact same shot is ignorable minutes later. Pain is randomly assigned and randomly used. Evil seems to have a fatal character flaw: didn't buy a good enough weapon, even though ostensibly the entire movie is a polemic about the spoiled wealthy and powerful. Perhaps that's it: I didn't like the movie because it's a tired cliche. Money and power buy you anything and everything but because you can buy anything, you spend unwisely. Its appeal is to the kid who never got beyond the abuse of the rich and spoiled kids of his youth. As if, weak can defeat strong because strong is dumb.

Money and power is not something you inherit. They are made and manufactured, mined with blood and sweat. We live in a world that is post-Rand, where individualism is dead and the spoils are remaindered, traded as zero sum commodities. There was a time when this nihilistic theme might have been appealing to me, just as much as its Randian antonym might have also appealed at one time or another. But, these things are illusions. That's why a movie like Pulp Fiction is much more appealing to me. Weapons are used artistically, and every shot, whether killing or not, counts. There is a wider frame of reference that is unspoken, because the palette used is unable to render the colors. And, the caste structure is made visible, made obscene. Real power, though, is behind a scrim, because it is not material to the trading of the commodity.

Furthermore, the entire movie plays like a cut-up: the words, the poems, are stolen from somewhere else even when they are not. She smells like an angel should smell, but in a world where angels are long forgotten, the odor should bind the angel, not the angel try to glorify the odor. These are cliches, as worn and tired as they get, and I am bored with them. They assume a knowledge never given nor appended, nor contextualized properly. Jane Austen is ahead of her time, because of the cyborgs. They pretend to feed but leave only hunger. They assume we know why a desperate tyrant would preserve the solitarity of a yellowed only son: because the allegory is mythical. It's a Cliff's noted myth in the listener's head, though. I've heard this record, and if i didn't I would have if I wasn't busy cribbing the notes. It's a heart pulsing like the last notes of a skipping player, bleeding out, gurgling, scratch, dead.
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