Violence

I really can’t take gory violence in any way, shape or form. Suspenseful, off-screen, more psychological violence is another matter. I do love cop shows: Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett or even Basil Rathbone, Columbo, The Closer, and the extraordinary Sherlock and Luther.

But there’s a line that’s been crossed and the idea of people accepting pain in a psychologically disastrous way is it. This season, sad to say, The Good Wife has crossed this line with their story of Kalinda, the investigator. She’s a tough woman and often saves the day. This season we’ve had to see her ex-husband return and mess with her. She tries to stay away, but she also toys with him and enjoys some of the masochistic activities he’s fond of. It shows her as partially liking them too and it turns my stomach. Otherwise the show is smart and engaging, but I can read or watch something else. To continue down this seedy path just isn’t good for my psyche or soul.

I hope this storyline soon plays itself out. Then I’ll be back.

I’m also struggling to watch two Asian films and the violence gets to me. The Korean film The Housemaid chronicles the story of a somewhat innocent, somewhat not woman who take a job as a housemaid for a very cold- hearted, rich family.  The wife is materialistic, vacuous consumer, the husband a heartless, womanizing consumer.  They’re both users, cold blooded users. The wife is pregnant with her second child. The daughter is about 6 or 7 and she’s like a little robot. There’s also a middle aged  stern woman who manages the household and eavesdrops for a cold hearted mother-in-law.

The husband makes sexual advances towards the housemaid, who’s interested in him, though he treats her like a prostitute, like dirt. The mother-in-law finds out the maid is pregnant and “accidentally” kicks over a ladder the maid is on so she falls two floors. It’s manipulative, vicious and reptilian. Though the film is  beautiful and I thought a way to learn more about Korean culture. I paused it a week ago and can’t bring myself to watch more.

After pausing The Housemaid, I started watching The Drummer from Hong Kong. The image on Netflix made it seem like it would be a film about a traditional drummer. Nope. It’s about a rock star who sleeps with a gangster’s girlfriend. The gangster finds them together and assigns the drummer’s father to bring him his hands.

Yep, small world, the drummer’s father is a gangster, who works for the cuckolded king pin. The drummer goes on the run and his father tracks him down. The scene where the father goes to his daughter’s vet clinic and roughs her up, breaking a few of her teeth, was too much for me. Good Lord.

I remember a conversation with a Chinese man who said in China violence is viewed as beautiful, like a ballet. Whoa. Now you’ve lost me. Just like a scene with a father beating on his daughter so she could tell him where he could find his son to kill him is too much for me.  And I’m fine with that.

Luther

Idris Elba (L) as Luther; Warren Brown (R) as his colleague

Nominated for 4 Emmy awards, the BBC’s Luther beckoned me from Netflix. I’ve just seen the first two episodes from season 1 and am hooked. Luther’s main character is a London detective who’s we see taunting a known pedophile cum murderer. Did John Luther allow the murder to fall to his death? His superiors, colleagues and ex wife all wonder.

Like Sherlock Holmes and Columbo, the two inspirations for the character, Luther is brilliant. He’s also troubled. His wife has moved on taking a new boyfriend, who’s a much safer, centered cardigan-wearing kind of guy. Luther’s still very much in love and his wife could be too, but she’s just done with the intensity.

Each episode takes viewers to the edge, Luther solves highly violent crimes though deduction and psychologically gets inside the heads of the criminals as no one on the force can. Yet by the end of the pilot episode the criminal, Alice, a genius who planned the perfect murder, starts stalking the cop as she becomes obsessed with Luther and his wife. The tables are turned and Alice pathologically enjoys toying with Luther throughout the series.