Plugged In has passed the halfway point in my 584-part series on film and faith (well, it seemed that long while I wrote it), and this week’s installment is all about on-screen violence: what it is, what it does to us when we watch it and whether it’s ever appropriate.
Americans (speaking in broad generalities here) have always been pretty comfortable watching violence on-screen. Perhaps its because our country was born in the midst of violence, forged in the fires of the Revolutionary and Civil wars. Perhaps its because our traditional heroes have often toted muskets and six-shooters. Regardless, we like things that go boom, which in a nutshell explains why Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen made $400 million. Western Europe (again, in broad generalities), which thinks nothing of featuring bare-breasted women on billboards, often stands collectively aghast at America’s cinematic penchant for violence. Or so the stereotype goes.
Then again, Revenge of the Fallen made another $450 million overseas, so maybe they’re not as horrified as we (or they) sometimes think they are.
But I guess I’d like to throw it open to you and hear what you have to say. Does violence have a place in movies? Why? And when? Can you explain the disparity of attitude between how Americans react to violence and how Europeans do? Or is there really a disparity at all?