Bright Lights Film Journal

Jodie Foster and Kevin Bacon have no souls. Ridley Scott is only an asshole.

What is the deal with Jodie and Kevin? Do they in fact have no souls, or just no bank accounts? Both are starring in separate Death Wish “What would you do if they killed your family?” revenge-fests, which each appear to have the moral and intellectual depth of Clint Eastwood in his dirtiest Dirty Harry days.

Jodie is starring in The Brave One, playing a chick who is raped, plus her boyfriend and her dog get killed (I think). Naturally, the law is helpless, even though everyone knows who the killers are, so little Jodie has no choice but to get out the Glok and even the score.

In Death Sentence, Kevin plays a dad whose son is murdered. Naturally, the law is helpless, even though everyone knows who the killers are, so little Kevin has no choice but to get out the Glok and even the score.

After the Silence of the Lambs gave her a second Oscar before the age of thirty, Jodie had a hard time telling herself from Joan of Arc, judging from her choice of roles. But I guess that even St. Joan would score a hit or two if she really needed the cash, right? As for Kevin, Footloose, Wild Things*, OK, this guy is no Larry Olivier, but still. It didn’t have to come to this.

The Death Wish and Dirty Harry flicks satisfied the American lust for vigilante justice back in the high-crime days of the seventies. Apparently, the Bush Administration’s disastrous War in Iraq has somehow convinced Americans that it’s time to oil up the Uzi once more, or least this is how Hollywood is betting its money. Now, some people might say that, far from being helpless, the cops have been throwing too many people in jail, not to mention blowing away innocent Americans with disarming frequency in drug busts “gone bad.” Over at Reason magazine’s Hit & Run column, Jacob Sullum and Radley Balko are making careers reporting this stuff, and they never seem to run out of material.

I almost forgot about Ridley. He’s just finished American Gangster with Denzel Washington, basically a black Godfather. So that’s Hollywood, glorifying gangsters** and vigilantes. Because obeying the law is so boring.

Afterwords
I got hit with all these previews as a result of going to The Bourne Ultimatum, which is pretty much cellphones, computers, cars, and crashes, plus the occasional Glok. Frankly, I had a much better finale for Bourne Three, but, as is so often the case these days, my phone calls went unreturned.

*In which he displayed, wait for it, 360 degrees of Kevin’s bacon.
**I am on record as being a fan of Bonnie and Clyde. But I can honestly say that that’s the last gangster pic I’ve liked.