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A Couple of Revenge Flicks
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I rented a couple of movies this weekend, not realizing they were both about revenge, Lucky Number Slevin and the Australian western The Proposition.

Kind of weird to watch these films back to back. They're both about revenge, but their attitudes toward it are about as opposite as you could get.

Slevin is about a guy who turns up in another guy's apartment in a case of mistaken identity and owes two rival mob bosses a lot of money. There's lots of twists and turns (actually there's only one big one), but the movie is mostly just style and cleverness, and it does pretty well with those. I liked it, but if it had a moral it would be that revenge is cool, and hey, along the way you might meet a hot Asian chick and fall in love.

The Proposition is stylish too, but much slower, even more violent, and much grimmer. Guy Pearce plays a guy who has tried to leave a life of crime behind. He lives with his younger brother, who is simple and wouldn't hurt a flea. His older brother is a ruthless murderer and rapist who is hiding out in the rocky hills. The local captain (basically a sheriff), locks up the simpleton brother and threatens to hang him in nine days if the Pearce character doesn't hunt down and kill his older brother.

The characters are complex and interesting, even the bit ones. Ultimately, the film takes the basic stance that an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. All revenge does is add to the heap of violence and misery.

Kind of interesting to note, though, that the two targets of the most viciousness are two of the most innocent people in the film. Maybe that's part of the point too, that when you go about seeking revenge, it's the least responsible ones that end up getting hurt the most.

I don't know if that's true or not. Revenge is an interesting subject. It's hard to tease apart from justice...the two seem unavoidably linked. And if you were interested in justice only, how do you go about finding it without continuing the cycle of violence, if the people you are after are ruthless, violent people?

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