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Ear, ear – Changes in acceptable cinema violence

Ear, ear – Changes in acceptable cinema violence 20th May 2017Leave a comment
Reservoir Dogs fan art

Back in 1992 Quentin Tarantino released his directorial debut : Reservoir Dogs. Although this is considered a modern classic of cinema, and rightly so, many people lost their shit when this film came out.

The most notable reason for the hostility towards the film was the infamous ear-cutting scene performed by Michael Madsen’s Mr Blonde on┬áKirk Baltz’s Marvin Nash – even though the act itself is performed off-screen.

Last night I went to see a recent film release: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (don’t judge me), which itself had a scene with somebody getting their ear cut off. The cutter even talks into the severed ear just as Mr Blonde does. King Arthur, however, is rated as 12A and I bet it wont be denied a video release for three years.

What does this say about modern cinema, or about us as people?

Now I’m not somebody who has any complaint about cinema violence – I bloody love it. It’s fun to watch and unless you have trouble differentiated fantasy from reality, or have an already-existing mental condition, is not going to make you want to replicate violence in the film. If you do find yourself wanting to act out certain scenes, please seek medical advice (I mean this sincerely; I’m not trying to be funny).

I’m not a student of Psychology or Film, but I did find it interesting – when watching that film last night – just how the levels of acceptable graphic content have changed in twenty five years. I think we have generally become a lot more decensortized to graphic content in films – I would make the assumption that it’s due to the inherently graphic nature of the world around us. Also┬áthe abundance of visceral imagery shared on social media as shocking events and atrocities occur across the globe.

Let’s face it – the modern world is a great deal more horrifying than any film that could be released (All the ones I have seen at least).

It’ll be interesting, perhaps even scary, to see where those levels are in another twenty five years.

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