Violence and Art?
I’m curious about something–am opening up this discussion to the blog followers and those who might read this post.
The question? Is there a time and place for excessive violence in artistic mediums, if done well and with a purpose?
I ask because I’ve recently found an online film trailer for All Saints Day, the sequel to The Boondock Saints (written and directed by Troy Duffy). Watch the trailer here.
Now, let me openly admit that I’m not a fan of Friday the 13th or Saw flicks. Too gory for me, and it seems that there isn’t a purpose/set of characters I like enough to spend the time with or subject my delicate stomach to. And yet I am gleefully excited about Troy Duffy’s upcoming film, which releases on Oct 30th.
Will it be violent? Yes.
Will it likely be super violent and bloody like his first film? Yes.
Is it the violence that I enjoy in the movie? No. It’s the characters, and the violence is essential to the story and who they are.
I thought Duffy’s original film, The Boondock Saints, was excellent. Bloody, definitely. Violent, absolutely. But the characters, the plot, the background, the conflicts, the way each character is portrayed–absolutely brilliant. I also think it was one of Willem Dafoe’s best acting performances in his career. Hence why I will go see the sequel, even though I know it will be as bloody as (or perhaps more so) than the first one.
Perhaps violence is not as unlikable, so long as it’s done for a purpose or fits the story? I’m not ever one who likes or enjoys any kind of violence for the sake of violence–and even in Duffy’s bloody films I still don’t think it’s purely gratuitous. Some of it, perhaps. But the story of these 2 Irish brothers couldn’t be told without it.
I also hold a soft spot in my creative heart for writer/director Troy Duffy, because I think he’s got that resilience, that never-give-up spirit which is inspiring. (Trivia here…the original story idea formed in Duffy’s mind when a woman was attacked in his hometown and the perpetrator got away with it. The first film came out of Duffy’s anger at the justice system, at the damage done to this woman. Instead of seeking revenge himself or going off on someone, he wrote a script about revenge. That became The Boondock Saints.)
I’m not very patient with director commentaries, and often don’t get past the first 10 minutes unless I really admire the person or the work–or both. Duffy’s commentary was hilarious and yet inspiring, for the journey to make his first independent film was filled with struggle and chaos. I admire his tenacity and appreciate his sense of humor. This helps me to overlook the excessive violence when I see it as fitting to the story.
What do y’all think?