Depiction of violence should be re-evaluated

Last weekend, the Cosford Cinema  showed “Looper.” I thoroughly enjoyed the sci-fi movie, and it raised many questions in my mind, specifically about violence and guns.

I’m not going to give statistics, since proponents of both sides can find studies to back up their opinions. I am not proposing that violence and guns should be banned from movies either, since film is an art form.

Art reflects the culture in which it is developed, and it seems violence and guns are part of our culture. I only wish to encourage readers to think strongly about their own opinions.

“Looper” involves a great deal of shooting, with futuristic shotguns, handguns and machine guns. From the very first scene, the viewer sees countless deaths at the hands of gunmen. In one scene, Bruce Willis confronts a young child whom he believes will grow up to become Rainmaker, a powerful mob boss.

While the scene doesn’t show the shooting, the audience hears the gun fire before the next scene begins quickly. In another scene, Willis uses two machine guns to annihilate a small army of thugs.

This explicit display of shooting contrasts greatly with the director’s choice to skip a sex scene, choosing instead to imply its happening. In this movie, the sex scene would’ve served little purpose, but it reminded me that sex seems to be more taboo, and kept more hidden from the eyes of children, than violence.

Perhaps I’ve been forced to re-evaluate my own sensitivity toward violence, especially with the string of recent gun tragedies. However, I could not help but cringe and turn away in shock during scenes with excess brutality.

Inevitably, a movie about assassins will involve shooting, but I left Cosford questioning the way in which this violence is displayed. Certainly, to completely ignore that such acts exist is to give into censorship. At the same time, ubiquitous displays of violence in which the offender is not held accountable for their actions, nor forced to see its consequences, serves to desensitize the viewer.

Though I don’t know how, I do know that the depiction of violence in news and media needs to be re-evaluated. This ugly aspect of our culture is merely hindering the prosperity and development of our society.


Paul Levy is a sophomore majoring in physics.