In a Danny Boyle movie you focus on who’s running. Picture Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting, hurtling down a high-street. Or Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later, outpacing the dead. Slumdog Millionaire – Boyle’s latest – starts with a posse of Indian boys running. They’re trying to escape security guards in the story, but the real reason they run is: for the rush. As the drums beat on the soundtrack, you feel it. The rush. Velocity. Not only of the boys, but of their country. The reason Boyle seems born again as a director on this movie is because India today is sprinting. You want to know what becoming a global superpower feels like? Run!
Ninety nine percent of horror movies are about men hacking up young women. That’s not a fact, but its close. Horror movies, like ancient horror myths, don’t like women. Like virgins being fed to the Minotaur, the fairer sex are mostly screamers in horror flicks; they get to flail, they get to plead, they get to die – and that’s their lot. In the 19th century it was Bram Stoker who immortalised misogyny; in the 1980s it was Friday the 13th… A movie like Teeth isn’t designed to redress the historical imbalance, but it does feature a vampire vagina that chomps off men’s bits. Is this how horror does equality?
Every cop is Irish – not by birth or marriage; nothing superficial like that – but Irish where it counts: heart, fists, raw eyes, dirty mouth. WASP cops are counterfeit. You can’t cry and be a man if you’re a WASP. You can’t get in a “scrap” if you’re a WASP (for WASP’s, a “scrap” will always be assault and battery). Drinking is always a “problem” for a WASP. This isn’t to say all cops have to be white (being Irish), only that they need to be Men in a messy, violent, poetic way that’s stereotypically Irish. You can’t play golf and be a cop, is the gist. In the new cop movie, Pride and Glory, the NYPD is so Irish it’s a wonder they don’t piss Guinness.
Allegory is a dubious friend to monster movies. Take The Mist, for example. When you’re telling the story of Mans’ struggle against giant man-eating insectoids, you don’t always need a political subtext. To be frank, I think most tales of claws, teeth and twitching antennae are better off sticking with gore. It’s the 50s fault. If it hadn’t been for McCarthyism and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, there would never have been a precedent for B-movies with socio-political aspirations. After Body Snatchers, it wasn’t enough to have the bug people gnaw our limbs off and tear young women’s blouses; they had to be (Shock! Horror!) based on something.
Bond. James Bond. My friend, what’s become of you? Where once there was a suave, bespoke-suited sadist who battled lisping megalomaniacs by the dozen, now there is only a pale Jason Bourne-imitation, eternally running, jumping, regretting… This man isn’t Bond. Bond is promiscuous, cheeky; he drinks life. He isn’t a guy in his twenties (like Bourne) trying to piece life together. He’s British, for God’s sake. He was born knowing life is rotten and the best revenge is to smirk at it. The new Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, says it’s about revenge, but really it’s about life lessons. Bond learns revenge is bad. Bullshit! Bond doesn’t do ethics.