Monday, December 11, 2006

NYer on Apocalypto

Anthony Lane over at NYer takes an interesting spin on the op-ed sections' favorite dead-horse of the month: Mel's use of violence.
Contrary to what his detractors say, I don’t believe Gibson is roused by violence in itself. What lures him, in his dark remoldings of Catholic iconography, is breakage and restoration—the deeper and more foul the wounds, the more pressing the need to see them healed.
Lane gets credit for digging in search of a deeper theological current that Mel may be tapping into. (I believe Lane is Catholic himself?) I noticed something similar after watching TPOTC. Yes, the violence of film could only be justified in my mind as a magnifying glass on the sinfulness of mankind. But to what degree does that manufacture a certain perverse incentive, or "lust," for depravity, not in and of itself, but in quest of an ever-greater glory. The "wicked" paths of Graham Greene, Hemingway, and Oscar Wilde come to mind. Not that Gibson shares much in common with these literary greats, other than a deep-seated Catholic aesthetic, but I've always wondered how the particular tilt of the Catholic metanarrative can spin outward in uniquely pathological directions.