I sat down to watch A Walk Among the Tombstones and was struck by the bad guys. They were brutal and sadistic serial killers without much to make them seem like anything other than brutal and sadistic.
I mean, we all remember Silence of the Lambs and how Hannibal Lecter was, through the creepy, downright seductive. Playing 12-dimensional chess when everyone was playing checkers. Even Buffalo Bill came across as deeply disturbed to the point where he could be pitied. Big movies like Se7en, Saw, and the granddaddy of them all: Psycho, go out of their way to stylize both the killers and the motives of the killers. (Everybody gets a monologue.)
This movie doesn’t do that. The bad guys are bad guys and there’s no pity that you feel for them, no thought that they might be crazy, nothing that would give them a whiff of being attractive.
They’re just sadistic brutes.
Which leaves you wondering “why did I watch this, again?” after the big climactic scene at the end. There’s no sense of justice having been accomplished, just a vague “well… I suppose that was inevitable.”
Which makes me wonder to the extent that crime is better reflected by movies that people vaguely regret having watched than the movies that become exciting action/adventure cultural touchstones that everybody has to have seen in order to get various pop culture references for the next 20 years.
So… what are you reading and/or watching?
(Photo is “Movie Night“, taken by Ginny, used under a creative commons license.)