Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thoughts on Criminality and Morality in Film; WHAT DOESN'T KILL YOU and DUPLICITY trailers

Though most of us still appreciate a good ol' crime drama in the vein of GOODFELLAS or CASINO or any number or Scorsese films, I've been finding it harder and harder to appreciate this genre of film. It's not the writing (though at times is lyrical) and it's not the direction (at times visually ornate), it's my reaction to the world that the characters inhabit. Though, I still can admire the chops that go into making a PARANOID PARK, the writing of a BLOW or BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD, or even the brutal explorations of a NO COUNTRY, I'm no longer inspired by the criminals that some films glorify. Like the boy looking up to Outlaw Jesse James.
Now, there's a difference between inspiration and impression. A keen mind is a keen mind but all knowledge is not necessarily good knowledge. Criminals or those who take part in criminal activity are still human beings, but we all make decisions and the justification that, some don't know any better, is no longer justification enough. We live in the 21st century. Education starts from when one reads the tube of toothpaste in the morning to when one shops for khakis and to when they drive home from work listening to the news flash in between songs on the radio. Criminals themselves are to blame for predicaments they find themselves in and are responsible for any and all consequences.
Having just finished the final episode of THE SHIELD, the word consequence doesn't seem to carry the weight it once did. The protagonist (or antagonist, depending on how you view him) Vic Mackey, is not only one of the sharpest minds on the police force, he's also one of the dirtiest. I find myself rooting for the clever thug all the while hoping he gets the justice that's coming to him. I love it when Ocean and crew get away with the loot in the end but their suavity doesn't negate that fact they're cons and criminals. It may seem like I'm taking the fun out of the film but look at the situation on a universal level. What are the reasons so many youngsters think they have what it takes to be a criminal; the reason they turn to criminality? Right, there's too many.
I'm almost banging on a muted drum here but think about the role criminality and the morality of it in films you see in the future and even ones you may revisit from years past.
Now comes the trailer for Brian Goodman's WHAT DOESN'T KILL YOU. I'm not making any negative comments towards the film but consider the film taking what we've discussed above. The story is fairly authentic as it is based on events and the life of the writer/director.

We all know Tony Gilroy right? He's only written some of the best screenplays in the last decade including THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE and the BOURNE films and as of 2007, directed one of the best movies of the year, MICHAEL CLAYTON. His new film is in fact, yep you guessed it, a con film. DUPLICITY, starring the Clive "The Driver" Owen, Julia Roberts, Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson. It does look mighty fun though, doesn't it?

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