Movies become more bloody by the decade, with violence more gratuitous. Just a couple of decades ago, it was every other film made that was filled with extreme violence, typically relegated to horror films or films about serial killers. Now, one must search through the violence to find a handful of films not laced with blood from beginning to end. Even when a few non-violent films are found, they are either filled with mental and emotional violence or pure buffoonery. The rare gem is becoming ever more rare.
What is the draw? The inclination is to think I’m asking why we watch the films. While this is a question I ask daily, I’m more curious about the desire by so called artists to write these films. Why continue to feed the culture violence while complaining about the sad state of humanity? If most of these films included violence that was not merely for the sake of showing humans being unnecessarily mutilated for money or power or greed, but for genuine defense of something important, say, freedom, equality, an end to racism, then maybe it could be justified, albeit still a stretch depending on the circumstances. But these films are not created out of a sense of fighting for freedom, justice and equality. They are created to show violence, plain and simple. Violence because it makes for good cinematography. Violence because to teach peace through cinema would destroy the oligarchy we can’t see is our current state of affairs. Violence just because. Violence because real creation is too difficult. Violence because no one wants to dream of something better any longer. Violence is easier. It’s quicker and more accessible than peace.
Violence keeps us in a constant state of fear, which is destructive to our psyche and emotional health. It keeps us buying guns rather than creating a haven of peace in our neighborhoods.
I wish I knew the answers. But I don’t. What I do know is that violent films are not creative. They do not tap into any aspect of our authentic creative centers given that violence is easy to access and act on—it doesn’t take any real work. It is easy for me to knock a glass off a table and watch it shatter into a hundred pieces. But now ask me to create that glass. Ah, there is the rub.