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My December 2002 Writings

My December 2002 Writings

27 December 2002

I went to a movie with my mom a couple days ago. I wanted to see Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock, but my mom is not a fan of Hugh. So, instead we went to see Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz. My mom thought the movie would be good since it got nothing but good reviews.

It's been awhile since I've seen such a horrible and repulsive movie. How can anyone tout a movie about fighting and hatred and vengeance and violence as good?!? That is pretty much the gist of the film. There's no real depth involved. The characters are all shallow and superficial filled with nothing but hatred and anger. I don't understand what this world has become when I see reviews saying that a movie such as this is the "best movie of the year." Have we all lost our sense of humanity...our compassion? No wonder so many young people today are getting in trouble...fighting, raping, killing. How can we expect to teach our children respect, compassion, and forgiveness when we promote films that do nothing but glorify vengeance and hatred?

So, if you don't believe me, go see "Gangs of New York" and if you actually leave the theatre proud to be a human being, please let me know how you could possibly feel that. I've never been more ashamed to call myself a member of society as I was when I walked out of that theatre realizing how repulsive our society has become.

Promoters of this film will argue that this was the reality of New York in the late 19th century and maybe that is true, but even if it is, since when do we call such vulgarity 'entertainment'? "Gangs of New York" was not entertaining. It was a painful, frightening, and disgusting display of the worst of humanity. There was no need to make such a horrid film; no need to bring this repulsive display of humanity at it's worst to the big screen. Don't we see enough pain in this world as it is now? Don't we see enough hatred every time we turn on the local news and hear about the latest murder or rape? Why do we also need to see this in a theatre where it's touted as 'entertainment'?

Granted, I knew this film was going to be violent before I went to see it, but for some reason I thought that in the end I'd go away feeling proud because of some endearing human element that was strengthened as a result of living in such conditions. Yet, the characters in this film did not become better people in the end. They did not learn from the hell they lived in. They simply continued to promote violence and hatred. There was no compassion gained; no forgiveness given. They simply continued living with hatred and anger and nothing was learned even in the final violent scenes. There was no real story here. It was all one cruel act after another. Not a single character became a better person because of what was endured. Quite the contrary, they all became more and more repulsive with every scene. Even the last 'touching' scene with all those that died as a result of the attempt to stop the rioting did not leave one feeling as though Leonardo's and Cameron's characters had truly learned anything from all that occurred. It still seemed that hatred and violence was personified in them.

This wasn't a film about good and evil where the good won in the end. This was simply about two evils against one another with no winner in the end. The most ironic (and disgusting) parts of the movie were the scenes where each gang leader (played by Daniel Day Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio) said a prayer asking God to give him the strength to endure and to defeat his enemy. There is no such thing as murder as God's will. If you are to kill another human being, you are doing Satan's work not God's. It reminded me why I can not call myself a member of any organized religion. It is not religion that gives me strength. It is not religion that gives me hope. It is not religion that is good. It is God and my faith in Him that allows me to go on living and learning, loving and hoping, forgiving and respecting all those who live in this world. If there is anything good that can come out of this movie, I hope it is that we (society) see what we could become if changes aren't made soon and hopefully we are repulsed by what is seen on that big screen.


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