Into The Pit, Darkly – Three Mini Reviews

After a couple of extraordinarily social evenings, the Missus and I settled in Saturday night to watch a movie…then another…then another, an event we’ve never accommodated before. At some point we had to reach for the eyewash, popcorn, and chips, and by one a.m., our movie gloom was over (be sure to read the coda following the reviews).

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The first one was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Emma Watson and Daniel Ratcliffe as Hermione and Harry respectively, ferreting some unholy creatures from the gloom, all to a promising ending. The story was as well plotted as the book (says Missus), and the special effects spectacular.

Then, flipping through the movie channels, we came on The Ides of March, a movie about a popular but mildly corrupt governor running for President, and his handler, played by Ryan Gosling. It was Clooney’s usual ominously unsettling storyline. The story was tense, taut, and in the end,  powerful.

And finally, since the Missus had read the book, we decided to forge on and watch The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I hadn’t read it, so I wasn’t braced for the violent sex and the violent tortures and murders. What kept me writhing in my recliner to movie’s end was the well orchestrated plot a la Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, and the increasing suspense, as clues were dispensed click by click like Pez candies.

Now I have to wonder at the attraction to such dark and unsettling stories, in which there are only antiheroes, really. I know we in the first shudderings of a postmodern world like to crack open the sociological egg to see what rottenness lies within, but that’s only part of it. I think we attach ourselves to these stories to see what stench and depravity tugs at our own innards. Thus we allow books and cinema to perform catharsis and, hopefully, art’s healing.

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