I've been thinking about the relationship between violence and the movies. I'm all for peace - I would rather the world was a place without wars and violence, and where capital punishment was not a justifiable option.
I was in a supermarket in a rough area of the city one evening and I cringed when I saw a security guard boxed in the ear by a teenage hooligan who was being ushered out of the store for shoplifting.
Yet, when I'm watching a James Bond movie, like the latest 'Casino Royale' that I enjoyed thoroughly, I am entertained by the spectacle of violence. Rather than a feeling of dread I get a rush of adrenalin, and it makes the movie more exciting - in fact it fulfills the expectation of excitation from such action-adventure films.
Richard Dyer is a film theorist who wrote about the concept of "Entertainment and Utopia" (also the title of his article). In it he posits the theory that movies fulfill our innate desires - two basic examples are that of good triumphing over evil and love conquering all. I wonder if it is also an innate desire in us that violence is meted out as a form of justice - that killing and murder are seen as legitimate means to the end that is justice. If this is so then why is it that killing can in one medium (reality) can be so repulsive, while in another (the movies / popular culture) it is so acceptable, and even enjoyable?