Monday, November 20, 2006

Hidden Links: 'Casino Royale' and 'Hard Candy'

I had the doubtful privilege of seeing two scenes of genital mutilation last week. The first was in the despicable 'Hard Candy', a deeply unpleasant film about a teenage girl who turns the tables on an Internet stalker and subjects him (or maybe not) to the unkindest cut of all. The three people behind this effort explained in the illuminating DVD extra 'Controversial Confection' that the plot is simply a gimmick to reel viewers in but then tried to suggest that it was supposed to question the audience's sense of right and wrong. Well, no it didn't, it just left me feeling profoundly depressed, especially given the fact that the director seemed to be labouring under the delusion that the female character he had created was in some way realistic. I think it is fair to surmise that most fourteen year olds don't speak like a hipster refugee from a Tarantino film while undertaking a DIY castration. I hope not anyway. Naturally, I have the burden of answering why I watched the damn thing in the first place, a task that is presently beyond my capabilities.
I would give less of a bollocking to the Bond movie, even though it was half an hour too long and felt slightly like a computer game tie-in. Ever since 'Our Friends in the North', I have thought highly of Daniel Craig and he is certainly an improvement on the oily Pierce Brosnan, who could surely never borne with such stoicism the punishment bestowed on the new Bond's knackers.
However, there does seem to be more and more films (not just horror) featuring torture scenes. These two, Syriana, The Wind that Shakes the Barley are some that spring to mind. I wonder is this a reflection of current events or a way to normalise the idea of torture in popular culture.

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