Today, I saw two movies which were very different. The first one uplifted me and gave me hope for mankind. The other left me feeling dirty and wishing I hadn’t watched the movie.
**SPOILER ALERT** If you haven’t seen Looper and/or Alex Cross, I will be giving away the endings.
In the first movie, an assassin had the life of a small boy in his hands. Based on his decision, the very powerful boy would either grow up to be a super-powered villain or he could grow up to be a superhero. Armed with this knowledge, the assassin sacrificed himself so the little boy would have the best chance possible to be a worthwhile member of society. As the story went, the assassin’s only chance of creating this better life for the boy was by taking his own life – there really was no other way to get that outcome. He did what was right, even though it couldn’t have been easy. I felt uplifted, thinking that there are people out there who would make such a choice.
And then there was the other movie. In it, a psychologist who works for the police department lost his wife to a crazed sociopath. His mother begged him not to seek revenge, but in his mind, it was his only choice. In his path of destruction, this highly educated man, who has vowed to serve and protect, violently assaulted a semi-innocent man, brought his partner down his evil path, and in the end he framed a man for a crime which he hadn’t committed and would get him killed (based on the laws of the country in which the man was hiding) all the while, wearing his police badge, as if that gave him the right.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not completely a Polyanna. I get that our government doesn’t always work perfectly. Innocent people go to jail and guilty people walk free. I get that. I just don’t agree with people who feel they have the right to be vigilantes. I don’t like the idea that someone should feel they have the right to make it so another person loses their life. Doesn’t that make the vigilante just as guilty as the sociopath?
Needless to say, after walking out of that movie, I felt dirty. I understand that I’m supposed to feel that the protagonist’s deeds were justified, but I don’t. I can’t imagine taking any action which would end the life of another human being. Granted, I’ve never had anyone taken from me, so I can’t fully understand his motivation, but I would like to think that I would find a way to forgive or at least move on without violence.
I would hate to think of who I would need to become to be okay with framing another human so that his life would be taken. I hate to think of what I would be after committing such an act.
I wish I’d seen the second movie first so I could have walked away from the afternoon on the uplifting note of the first movie. An assassin who gives his own life to improve the lives of many is such a better story than a hero who sinks to the level of the criminals from whom he is supposed to protect us.
When did actions like Alex Cross’ become praise-worthy?
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