This blog typically takes the form of musical discussion and review, but today I am going to digress from this a little. I was pointed towards a review of the film Kick-Ass written by the Daily Mail's Christopher Tookey thanks to an nme.com article by Owen Nicholls (Nicholls does the film reviews for the nme and also works on his own site, http://www.thisfilmison.com)
The Tookey article is here for those who want to read: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/reviews/article-1262948/Kick-Ass-Dont-fooled-hype--This-crime-cinema-twisted-cynical-revels-abuse-childhood.html
I cannot stress strongly enough the need to read this article, by both those who have seen the film and those who have not.
First and foremost, I will wholly acknowledge the right of anyone to present a reasoned criticism of this film. There are a million and one things to dislike about the film, though I enjoyed it. I found it to be enjoyable, a fun take on a tired genre. We have seen dozens of comic book films in recent years and this stands out as one of the better ones.
However, (something that I share with Mr. Nicholls at the nme) I cannot stand the lazy, sensationalist tendency to blame films and televsion for violence, paedophilia and almost every other social issue of our time. This article in the Daily Mail does it's level best to pin damn near everything on Kick-Ass (and here was me thinking that knife crime, sexual abuse of minors and extensive swearing existed before this film was released? HOW did I make that mistake...?) Though this lazy journalism is not what has me as riled up as I am...
Tookey opens with "Millions are being spent to persuade you that Kick-Ass is harmless, comic-book entertainment, suitable for 15-year olds". I'm pretty sure that every trailer has depicted this film as extremely violent? The fact that there is a red band on the trailer is enough to suggest that the 15 certificate is rather lenient and that any parent worried about their child seeing this may do well to check out the film before hand.
In the case where youngsters will attempt to view this film, the responsibility lies with the cinema - a fact which was dealt with admirably by the Gate Cinema in Cork where I saw the film. As I was queueing to get my ticket, I saw more than a dozen teenagers turned away from this film as they looked underage - many of them protesting that they were 16, though the cinema were not taking this chance. The shock violence of the film has NOT been hidden from view, Mr. Tookey. Anyone who knows anything about this film is fully aware that the film has garnered significant attention as a result of the level of violence.
I won't even bore you by dissecting Tookey's lame review of the film. It is both uninspired and unoriginal - the review, not the film, attacking the film's lack of satire (I didn't realise this was essential to the success of a film nowadays?).
I will pick it up again, however, when he begins to discuss the portrayal of Hit-Girl. To anyone who has missed out on this (where have ye been? BOTH of my parents were able to describe her in detail!), Hit-Girl is an 11 year old who has been brainwashed by her father into accepting violence as the norm and is used as part of his schemes to take down the man he holds responsible for his wife's death and his imprisonment (Yeah the usual comic book lark). She is foul-mouthed and violent - not sexually aggressive as the Mail suggests.
He draws a comparison between Hit-Girl and the character of Gogo Yubari in Tarantino's Kill Bill. His reasoning being that she is female and violent I'd imagine? Or perhaps it is the fact that she wears a school uniform, as does Gogo. Lazy journalism at its finest. One violent, strong female character MUST be the same as another. An inaccurate and unfair comparison. He claims that "Paedophiles are going to love her (Hit-Girl)" - a statement that says so much more about Christopher Tookey than anyone else. This is a claim that is far more twisted and warped than he claims the film to be, in my opinion.
Though just to show how bad Kick-Ass is, he suggests that films such as City of God have dealt with the issue of violence among youth with greater sensitivity - the latter being a film that shows an eight year old shot in the hand, as well as hinting toward far greater acts. Tookey claims that the violence is presented in a manner that is "sexually arousing", again a phrase that says so much about the writer of the article rather than someone who has viewed the film. It is cartoon violence, openly and unashamedly over the top - I wonder how he would feel about Tarantino's Kill Bill and it's rooms overflowing with blood?
It is at this point that Tookey makes a claim that is more irresponsible and damaging than anything portrayed in the film - he claims that the "torture and killing of James Bulger or Damilola Taylor is re-enacted by child actors for laughs". I ask you, when is it ever okay to make this claim? The tragedies or James Bulger and Damilola Taylor have absolutely no place in a popular culture review and he should be ashamed of himself. He has included this reference purely for the shock value. It is sick and irresponsible - the very thing he condemns the film as.
The overtly conservative nature of the Daily Mail has been on the slide lately - I am reminded of the scandal regarding the Jan Moyer article about Stephen Gately in the days following the tragic death of the pop singer. The days where the Mail could be considered a middle ground between the tabloids and broadsheets are long gone, this article just the latest in a long line of mistakes.
Christopher Tookey's review is an irresponsible mishmash of sensationalist claims and inaccurate criticisms. He is fully within his rights to dislike the film, however his suggestions that the film is sexually aggressive, encouraging of violence and the abuse of minors and is comparable with two of the most horrific tragedies to ever mark British society is nothing short of slanderous.
- Cork, Ireland
- An Irish based alternative music blog. Music news, gigs, live reviews, album reviews... You'll find them here. If you want anything featured or removed, please shout. I hope you'll discover something new to love on this little experiment of mine. Currently editing the Music Section of the UCC Express and contributing to Motley magazine on campus, as well as writing for PopCultureMonster and 4FortyFour. Always looking for new projects so please get in touch if interested. Thanks for reading.