Thursday, March 20, 2008

Movies that touch deeper

A few days ago I celebrated St. Patrick's day by watching Boondock Saints. It has been a while since I had watched the movie, and I forgot how much I like it. Even though it is very violent and full of profanity (according to the internet the f-bomb is dropped a mind numbing 246 times). Despite that, this movie raises a serious ethics question for the viewer to consider (as brilliantly illustrated by the scene that plays during the credits). Many of my favorite movies (after Star Wars movies of course) are action movies that also present challenging questions or thoughts. In other words, I like movies that entertain with explosions but then touch at a deeper level, and here are my top five movies that illustrate what I am talking about. Chances are there are spoilers below, so you have been warned.

5. Boondock Saints This movie is about two brothers who feel called by God to kill evil men. The movie is brilliant because it knows this creates a moral dilemma for the viewer. One on hand you want to cheer them on, but on the other they are straight out murdering.

4. V for Vendetta This is another movie where the viewer is in a dilemma because the hero is not fully good or bad. V is consumed with the desire to get revenge-which is not admirable or attractive. However, at the same time he is fighting against an oppressive government that (at least I) wanted to see fall. I really like this movie because it raises good questions about an individual's relationship with the government. One of the best quotes from this movie is that "People should not be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people." A question this movie raised for me is what is the difference between a "freedom fighter" and a "terrorist"?

3. American History X To put it simply and bluntly, this movie is the single best movie to deal with racism in America. The movie is crude, brutally honest, and depressing but it is very powerful.

2. Fight Club Fight club is very well made and very quotable. Maybe I am unique in this but occasionally I can think very pessimistically about the world, and in those times this movie is like my manifesto The way this movie connects with me in that pessimism is really summed up in this quote: "We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off."

1. The Matrix This is kind of the poster child for an action movie that goes deeper. The movie raises existential questions on the nature of reality and the importance of faith. One of my favorite quotes comes from this movie, and that is "There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path."


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