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How Do You Talk About Something That Can’t Be Explained?

July 23, 2012

By John C.

As a writer, perhaps one of the most jarring questions is how do you talk about something that can’t be explained?  This is what I have been feeling time and again since Friday morning, when we were faced with publishing our very positive reviews of The Dark Knight Rises in the wake of the unspeakable tragedy that happened in Aurora, Colorado.  This must also have been what Warner Bros. and other studios were feeling when they made the right choice to withhold box office numbers over the weekend out of respect for the victims.  Money doesn’t matter in this situation.

We will truthfully never know why a masked gunman who’s name doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned would open fire at a Colorado theatre during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, killing twelve innocent people and leaving 58 others injured.  All we know is that people who should still be alive are dead because some selfish psychopath chose the release of one of the year’s most anticipated movies to unleash his senseless reign of terror upon the world, a deeply unsettling tragedy that marred the entire weekend with negativity.

No matter how many psychological exams are done, no sane person will ever be able to understand what caused him to do this.  Because how do you explain why a perfectly innocent victim like Jessica Ghawi narrowly escaped the cafeteria when shots rang out at the Eaton Centre in Toronto last month, only to have her young life end on this fateful night?  Such evil cannot be explained.  How do you even begin to talk about the recent reports that more people might have died if the killer’s semiautomatic machine gun hadn’t jammed?  All we can do is be thankful that the psychopath is awaiting trial in police custody.

But what I will say is that The Dark Knight Rises should not be blamed for this act of pure hatred.  As Anthony Lane so eloquently stated in The New Yorker, “no film makes you kill.”  The saturation of disturbing content in the media might desensitize people to violence, but no normal person would hurt and kill other people just because of what they see in popular culture.  We honestly can’t blame the movie itself just because there was one sick individual who tried to associate himself with it and ruin the experience for other people.  In comparison, The Catcher in the Rye can’t be blamed in the murder of John Lennon, just because the man who shot him had a copy of the classic book in his pocket.

The character of Batman is supposed to be a symbol of finding hope amidst darkness, and those who try to destroy that for audiences “just want to watch the world burn.”  As bleak as The Dark Knight Rises might sometimes be, the film is made all the more powerful by the fact that a glimmer of light is allowed to shine through the darkness.  Perhaps director Christopher Nolan said it best when he called what happened in Colorado a “senseless tragedy” and an “appalling crime.”  We will never understand why someone would be demented enough to hurt and kill other people, let alone inside the safety of a movie theatre.  All we can do is continue to offer our thoughts and prayers to all of the victims.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Heather Von Zuben permalink
    July 24, 2012 12:09 am

    John, I just felt sick when I woke up on Friday morning and heard what had happened. My two sons and three of their friends plus myself went to the Dark Knight Trilogy that Thursday night and enjoyed immensely the whole experience of seeing all three movies back to back. However now I feel that enjoyment is gone because of what this one individual has done. I do not know what is missing in some peoples lives that allow them to take anothers life without care or regard. We usually talk about a movie for a few days afterwards but this is the first time that I am talking about it, and still it is in regard to the shootings. No more…..It was a fantastic movie and a great summary of the trilogy. The acting was superb and I really enjoyed Anne Hathaway as Cat Woman. I was caught off guard by the little twist towards the end, and I like when that happens in a movie. In the theatre it was great to see the movies with other fans. Everyone clapped after each movie, with loud applause and cheering at the end of Dark Knight Rises. The message of hope and overcoming ones fears remains strong through the movie as well as finding ones inner strength and believing in humanity. It is what we all need to do now.


    • July 24, 2012 12:33 am

      I couldn’t agree with you more. It was impossible not to feel the sinking negativity throughout the day, but we also need to remember that this terrible tragedy really has nothing to do with the film. I’m glad that you guys enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises and the shared experience of seeing all three films with a big and very appreciative audience.

      I’m sure many people are feeling the same way and we need to encourage them all to share their enjoyment of the film. Thank you for your touching and well thought out comment,

      -John C.


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