June 17: guns

The Americans like guns; we know that. Practically all of their films feature extended shoot-outs where you just yawn and press the mute button. You might do as I do and press the mute button for the car chase sequence and all. This basically cuts the film down to about an hour. I also mute the scenes with the heroic ex-cop at odds with head of police or the FBI about his unorthodox methods of bringing a villain to justice (that’s another fifteen minutes gone), as well as all the Freudian backstory to one of the key chraacters (ten more minutes). That basically leaves shots of cars pulling into drives to set the location. Many of us are confused by this dull entertainment. When shooting goes on, you know they are not really killing each other. There is no truth in it, whereas in good dialogue there is always truth of one kind or another. We know all this, but one thing I noticed this week when half-watching an American zombie film on the Horror Channel is that often the heroes have guns and the baddies, zombies or whatever, often don’t. They are just picked off. It is a strange notion to designate the hero as the one with the gun and the unarmed underdog, whether that be zombie or humanoid, as the character we would not root for. It seems to designate a moral society as the one with the gun.


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