Surely the facts are not in dispute save the ones Anthony Lane can’t get a handle on
“First reports from Aurora, Colorado, indicated that ten people had been killed, and more than forty injured, at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” These figures climbed during the night to fourteen dead; at the time of writing, the number stands at twelve, and as many as fifty wounded. Local hospitals reported gunshot injuries, ranging from minor to severe; people were also being treated for the effects of tear-gas or smoke inhalation.
As for details from the crime scene itself, these were no less fluid and confused. A gunman, wearing a mask, was said to have entered Century 16, a multi-screen theatre, and set off an explosion, perhaps of tear-gas, before opening fire. “We thought it was part of the movie at first,” one eyewitness told reporters. In subsequent accounts, the mask became a riot helmet. The gunman was arrested, and was later said to have informed police that further explosives would be found at his Aurora apartment. Early rumors of a second gunman, who had fled in a vehicle, were not confirmed, and have since been discounted.”
And here he is! Smile pretty
“It is inevitable that, as the disorder and shock of the initial story subsides, a wave of secondary speculation will arrive. Without word of a possible motive, little can be said with any certainty; although, even if a motive were to be declared, it would not begin to explain the atrocity that was inflicted last night, let alone do anything to render it more comprehensible to the survivors, or to the relatives of the deceased. More often than not, (and this has been the case with school shootings), motives can be as petty, vague, and demeaning as the actions that they sponsor are large, exact, and incalculable in the grief that is left behind”
Petty, demeaning , and not at all vague.
“In this instance, however, there is a further unpleasant twist. Talk of a masked gunman will have instantly reminded anyone who has watched trailers of “The Dark Knight Rises,” or who saw its predecessor, “The Dark Knight,” of the villains who bestride those two films. The first is masked merely in smeared makeup, the second in a crab-like device, (as I describe it in my review of the film), which obscures half his face. Both men are indiscriminate in their use of violence, and find only pleasure, or the thrill of power, in the taking—whether random or carefully planned—of human lives. And so the thought arises: were the terrible events in Aurora suggested, aided, or in any way inspired by matching events onscreen?”
There’s every reason to believe they were. But not the screens in the multiplex — the screen in Holmes’ mind drenched in multiplex fare made to ape the cheap thrill kills of video games.
“We have been here before, many times; once, very specifically, when John Hinckley, Jr., became fixated on “Taxi Driver”, which came out five years before Hinckley attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan. “
“What holds true then remains the case today: no film makes you kill.”
“Having a mind to kill, at least in any systematic fashion, means that your mind is ready-warped; that the warping may well have started long before, perhaps in childhood; and that you may perhaps seek out, or be drawn to, areas of sensation—notably those entailing sex or violence—which can encourage, inflame, or accelerate the warping. Whatever we learn of the Aurora murderer, whatever he may profess, and whatever the weaponry, body armor, and headgear that he may have sported, and however it seems like a creepy match for what is worn, by heroes and villains alike, in the Batman movies—despite all that, he was not driven by those movies to slaughter.”
Quite striking the lengths to which Lane goes to carry water for multi-million dollar corporate product.
“What we can say, for now, is simply this: he took advantage of those movies. He knew that “The Dark Knight Rises” was not just a film; that it had become, as the studios like to say, and as the press is only too happy to echo, a “movie event.” Hence the midnight screenings, the first for its opening day of Friday, all over the country; hence the marathon screenings that have been well advertised, with fans given a chance to watch all three films in a row, the first two raising the temperature of the third. And it has been a fever, of alarming—and, we can now admit—foolish proportions. The fuss surrounding this movie did, and does, have something fevered and intemperate about it, something out of proportion to its nature; it is, after all, just a motion picture. Rottentomatoes.com suspended its user comments, this week, ahead of the film’s release, because the pitch of resentment, directed at critics who had dared to find the movie less than wonderful, had tipped into fury; Marshall Fine, of Hollywood and Fine, was told by readers that he should “die in a fire” or be beaten into a coma with a rubber hose. Such aggression was issuing, it should be noted, from those who, by definition, could not yet have seen the film.”
“We wuz wit you, boss — at Rigoletto’s”
“The first thing to say is that there is no link whatsoever between that childish taunting and the events in Aurora last night. One was virtual, hiding away behind the anonymity that is both the camouflage and the goad of those who prefer to do their bullying online; the other was all too real. Marshall Fine, thank heaven, will not die in a fire; but many families are lamenting loved ones today, because of something that happened at a movie theatre.”
Watch your back, Marshall. And stay away from the excelsior
“The film, which the killer most certainly will not have seen beforehand, presented him with an opportunity; it did not urge him on, or trigger him into homicide, but it was, nonetheless, the occasion that he sought. He would have known that people had been talking of “The Dark Knight Rises” for months; that the excitement was mounting; that they would flock, in a good communal mood, to the first available showing. They wanted to be among the first to give their verdicts, before breakfast, and to talk about their triumph at work today. That is one of the social thrills that cinema, unlike TV, can still deliver, and long may it endure. It is the most hideous of ironies that an unstable individual saw that coming-together as his chance. His actions needed no model in a fictional monster, just a profound hostility to regular folk who had gathered, en masse, with their friends and their sodas, to have fun. The screen gave him a stage.”
“And what now? First, the terrors of the night need to be recounted in calm. The pain dealt out in Aurora is infinitely more important than the fate of one movie; despite that, however, one can only guess at the dread that will currently beset Warner Brothers and everyone connected with the film, starting with its director, Christopher Nolan. The show, one presumes, must—or, at any rate, will—go on, although the conditions under which it goes on will be notably nervous. Cynics may even predict an even more fearsome result at the box office. A modest proposal: could midnight screenings be suspended? First, for reasons of security; there are always troubled or idiotic souls who dream of fomenting repeats of a public disaster, though they seldom succeed. Second, because those screenings, starting when most people are in bed, often have a crazed and hallucinated air, which is all part of the game to those who enjoy them—anyone who has driven to a theatre to fetch teen-aged Harry Potter devotees, as they wander out in costume at three o’clock in the morning, can attest to that weary delirium—but which, right now, seems volatile, ominous, and redundant. At the time of writing, according to some Web sites, Century 16 still has twenty screenings of “The Dark Knight Rises” scheduled for today. These, one imagines, will not take place.”
You and Warner Bros. hope.
Sing us out kids