“Tout ce dont vous avez besoin pour faire un film, c’est d’une fille et d’un flingue.” (Jean-Luc Godard)
I have a dream. It’s a glorious day in the near future, and all the filmmakers in all the world have just made a pact to go a whole year without shooting a single scene of someone shooting someone else. Pure fantasy. Pie in the goddamn sky…
There’s more chance of a Michael Bay film about the death of capitalism. Or a Richard Curtis film about the end of the monarchy.
What is it with films and guns? Like a close-up of a hot woman or a long shot of someone falling over, images of people firing guns at each other have been around since the first days of cinema. From The Great Train Robbery by Edwin S. Porter from 1903* all the way through to the recent Terminator Genisys [sic], we can’t get enough of that shit.
And this is what’s really weird – it’s not just bad guys in the movies that fetishize guns; the heroes do too. They appear to worship firearms, and get off on the act of killing. We, the audience, offer tacit approval and support.
How many people does James Bond kill in all those films?! He shows no remorse, no regret. He’s a psychopath.
So why do I want to be James Bond? Or John McClane in Die Hard. Or Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon. Or Tequila in Hard Boiled. Or… you get the idea. And I can’t be alone in this. These films are quite popular. And all those characters are presented by the filmmakers as 100% sympathetic heroes, yet go on murderous rampages with our blessing.
Pop quiz: What film does the title quotation come from? (Answers on a postcard to the usual address. First prize is an Uzi 9mm. Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.)
(*That shot of Joe Pesci shooting at the screen at the end of GoodFellas is a reference to this film.)