Sunday, July 22, 2012

Brief Comment on the 'Dark Knight' Massacre

It seems appropriate to say something brief about recent events in Aurora, Colorado. I would say that such things are beyond comprehension, but sadly they have become too commonplace for that. Making matters worse, this tragedy touches directly upon our community, taking place at the premiere of a high-profile superhero movie, and enacted by a man who--in his demented, murderous psychosis--apparently could no longer see the boundaries between art and life. This is not the only, or even most important, part of the story. But it is there, and on that note, I'd like to share this thoughtful and thought-provoking article from the New York Times:
Nolan’s films are not the great art that some of their admirers imagine them to be, but they are effective dramatizations of the Way We Fear Now. Their villains are inscrutable, protean, appearing from nowhere to terrorize, seeking no higher end than chaos, no higher thrill than fear. Their hero fights, not for truth, justice and the American Way, but for a more basic form of civilizational order: He knows his society — his Gotham, our America — is decadent and corrupt in many ways, but he also knows that the alternatives are almost infinitely worse. The great allure of the superhero, of course, is that he has the tools necessary not only to fight the more elemental forms of evil, but also to pre-empt them: to sweep down, cape flying, whenever ordinary law enforcement fails to anticipate or reckon with a threat. Indeed, for all the famous grittiness and violence in the Batman movies, very few innocents perish on screen.
Not so in real life. RIP to all the victims.

1 comment:

  1. Good point from the journalist's piece there, and G you are right to focus on the film's relevance to the situation. Some commentators have made a link between how Holmes acted and dressed and the Bane character, and some have dismiss the story/film links because there is no way he could have seen the film beforehand. The first angle feels like lazy simplification to me, and the second doesn't factor in the enormous effect the publicity, trailers and clips would have on anyone; I've not seen it yet but can claim to know a lot of the plot and mood already.
    Other commentators have said the violence of the ffilm world has partially led to this violence in life. This again smacks of simplification to me and lazy scapegoating.
    However, I believe the notion of the violent superhero, the justice and deification that these films depict stemming from violence reacting to violence, places in a disturbed mind the idea they can attain something through violence. Just like a 5 year old thinks whacking their big brother on the head is a good move for their ego and place in the world.