Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Jul 12, 2011


(As always, click the post title to go check out the Official Movie Site).

So, I watched Faster a while ago with Adam, and I have to say, the movie really surprised me. It's not even close to what I guessed it might be about. I was expecting some kind of fast-driving crime-glorifying (or at least outlaw-glorifying) action movie, but that's not what Faster is at all. It's a movie about people making horrible decisions and then trying to move on in some fashion. Yet, ultimately, they can't escape the rippling negative consequences of their decisions.

In Faster, Dwayne Johnson plays the victim of a bank job gone horribly wrong when another gang interfered. They tortured him and his brother for information, then killed his brother and nearly killed him by shooting him in the back of the head. He winds up in jail for ten years, and immediately upon release goes after the other gang for revenge, killing them one after another.

One of the things I like a lot about this movie is that it makes excellent use of the principle of Chekov's Gun--even seemingly insignificant details like the main character having a metal plate holding his skull together have their part to play in the story. I also like that revenge itself is not glorified, either, it is shown as a horrific act that, even given extreme provocation, Johnson's character has to force himself to carry out in some cases.

Most of the characters in the movie don't have names, a stylistic choice that I think works well. There's no glitz to this movie at all, no glamor, it is a straight-out tale told in the sparest way possible, a morality play of sorts. However, there's no real message here other than that actions have consequences, so it doesn't come across as some sort of syrupy public-service "take your vitamins" message film.

I think my favorite scene is about 2/3 of the way through the movie, after Driver (the only moniker given for Johnson's character) has killed a bouncer at a nightclub. The bouncer instructed Driver to call the bouncer's son on his cell phone and explain what happened. Driver does this, and then the son vows to undertake his own revenge. Driver doesn't apologize or try to make excuses, he simply says "you do what you have to do".

This declaration that the revenge is not some consequence-less act really brings home the movie for me. It strips things down to their naked essence--that this movie reviles evil as such, even when it's the "protagonist" doing the evil things. Driver is not a fully sympathetic character as a result. What he's doing *is* evil. However, he's not shown in the light of a helpless victim, either. *Everyone* in the movie chose to do what they did, and suffered for it when they chose badly.

So, despite its focus on crime, murder, and revenge, Faster is actually a benevolent movie, because it focuses on what ultimately *also* allows people to live good lives: free choice.

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