Lot 48: Violence

April 27, 2012


I have been thinking about this topic a lot recently.  What first brought this up was my sister told me how one day while listening to the radio, she heard a guy voicing his opinion of why The Hunger Games should be rated R.  This man;s logic was that killing is a horrific act and should be portrayed as such in media.  If it is not portrayed as such, if the killing is not shown and is instead glossed over, then we are making light of the act of killing and that is more evil than showing the act of killing.  (I tried to find this an article of this guy but I couldn't.  I wish I could find it.)  I actually see his point and kind of agree with him.
When I watch a movie, I can usually handle seeing someone get killed as long as it's not too graphic.  It makes me wince and grit my teeth, but I can handle it.  I like action movies because I like seeing bad guys go down.  I like seeing good win against evil.  But what I do not want to see is someone being killed in a graphic way.  Like in The Hunger Games for instance, I did not want to see that curly haired little boy get stabbed to death, so I was very grateful when the camera cut away from him and all we saw was the blood on the ground.  Is the act of not showing the killing worse than showing the killing?
I was watching the movie RED the other day and there is a scene was two men start beating each other up hard core.  This scene was done to the song Back In the Saddle Again by Aerosmith.  This two men were really hurting each other, there was blood everywhere and you could hear bones breaking.  And all this was done to a rock song.  A rock song.  To me, it seemed like the choice of playing a rock song during this scene seemed to encourage and promote the violence.  This was not okay with me because we should never take violence lightly.  Ever.
I do understand there are some instances where violence needs to be used and killing is justified.  (Look what Nephi did in the Book of Mormon.  He killed Laban didn't he?  And God commanded him to.)  But nonetheless, this should never be taken lightly.
However, I am a hypocrite when it comes to violence.  One of my all time favorite movies is Warrior.  It is literally one of my favorite movies and one of the best I have ever seen.  I seriously walked out of that theater changed.  (p.s. the first time i saw that movie was when i was on a date, and i was way more into the movie than he was.  Awkward.)  The movie is very, very violent, and the reason it doesn't bother me is they don't take the violence lightly.  For one thing, the characters are professional boxers and know what they are getting themselves into.  They also talk a lot in the movie about how dangerous what they are doing is, how harmful it is to them, and one of the character's wife in the movie doesn't agree with her husband's career choice because she doesn't want their children to grow up with a father who "gets beat up for a living."  I think this is a movie where violence is properly used.  But at the same time, what does it say about our society where we pay money to watch people beat each other up?  What does that say about me because I like Warrior?  I think about how way, way back when, people would kill each other for sport, like gladiators and such.  Have we really progressed that far?  I don't think so, because people still pay money to watch boxing and I pay money to watch a movie about it.
 For those of you who know me well, you know I have seriously considered being in the CIA.  Stop laughing and stop widening your eyes in surprise.  I wanted to be where the fight was, I wanted to be one of the people who was protecting the people of our country and I wanted to be one of the people who was putting a stop to the monsters in our world.  I seriously, seriously wanted to do that.  And I wondered if that was because I had seen a lot of action movies.  Did I just want to be an actress kicking butt in an action movie, or did I really, legitimately, want to be in the CIA?  I really think it was the latter, not the former.  But I also think seeing a lot of action movies is what originally stirred that desire in me.  And my hobby of shooting.  What can I say, I grew up in the desert, my dad doesn't have any sons, so he would take me and my sisters out to the middle of the desert and teach us how to shoot.  And we're good, too.
But what I'm trying to say is, have we, as a society, become desensitized to violence?  I think about the movie rating difference in America and Europe.  In Europe, sex is not a big deal, there can be full frontal nudity and nobody bats an eye.  Here, that would get an R rating and you must be 17 or older to enter.  But you only have to be 13 to watch someone get shot to death.  In Europe, if someone gets shot to death in a movie, that movie gets a very high rating, like the equivalent of our R or higher.  Europe doesn't tolerate violence.  We do.  What does that say about us?
I remember a letter I read written by Dr. Martin Luther King about how he planned to fight for his civil rights.  He said in the letter that he and his fellow activists (?) were training and practicing how to resist the use of violence.  He expressed how he really believed violence was never the answer and peace could be achieved without it.  I also remember the movie The Interpreter where Nicole Kidman's character expresses why she loves the United Nations.  She says it's because they get results through words, not violence.  People say you have to fight fire with fire, but do you?  Is violence the answer?  I don't know and I wish I did.  I can't decide if I am for or against war, for or against fighting fire with fire, and for or against using force instead of words.  I just don't know, I can't decide.
And that's why I want to know what you think about violence.  Do you think the act of glossing over violence in a film is worse than showing it in all it's brutality?  Do you think violence is the way to achieve peace? I really want to hear your opinions!


  1. I think it's the intention. Hunger Games is obviously a very disturbing scenario but the whole point is how completely wrong it is. It's not trying to actually promote such an idea.
    It doesn't sound like you have seen Drive, but based on this, I wouldn't recommend you see it. The violence was incredibly disturbing and just left me with a totally creepy feeling. It was just gross.
    So I agree with you on many points--we are definitely a desensitized society when it comes to violence; however, I do think it all depends on the intent.
    Kevin and I have discussed the same thing with the F word. Some movies use it willy nilly for no reason. Once in a while, we find a movie that uses it with some design--to show class, for example (Gone Baby Gone, Atonement, Children of Men, etc.) Believe me, I hate that word more than anything and don't enjoy hearing it at all, so I hope you get what I'm saying.

  2. Such an interesting post. I really think that it depends on the situation. I personally have more trouble watching violence in a movie like Warrior than I do in a movie like RED because to me the violence in Warrior is realistic and could/does happen in those types of situations. It doesn't bother me as much in movies like RED because I feel like it is a fake situation that wouldn't really happen in real life. The movies that are the most real that I just absolutely can't handle are war movies. It is too real for me and I find it too disturbing. I saw part of a war movie on TV once that I watched with Scooter for less than one minute before I started crying. I was upset for hours even though we had come in the middle of the movie and I didn't know or have any feelings for the characters. Sometimes I feel guilty that I can't even watch them because I know that some people have to live through those same experiences...


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