This post was published to Oran Ryan at 22:18:47 23/09/2012
Dread of Death, and Sex
Account Oran Ryan
Judge Dredd (the Movie), beautifully shot, wonderfully plotted, faithfully rendered, very well acted, filled with grim accuracy about a future world after the bomb drops, is a thoroughly good film, and much better than the first Dredd film, which I also enjoyed immensely, despite the many bad reviews it got. Shot in 3D and starring Karl Urban, Lena Headey, and Olivia Thirlby, it makes for compulsive viewing, especially for me. I have a long passionate thirty-eight year relationship with the Judge. I collected the 2001 comics lovingly and stored them, week after week in a shoe box under my bed, fascinated at the Judges journey through Mega City One and across the Cursed Earth. I lived for those editions, until they migrated into larger comics that cost me the huge sum of fifty pence. I remember the MacDonalds city, General Blood n’ Guts and saw Dredd as the only source of sanity in an increasingly insane world. I loved the uniform, the lawgiver, the anonymous cool fearless grim self assurance of Dredd, and the fact that there was a law, a source of justice, something that I replaced later with reason and logic. I clearly remember the first edition of 2000 AD, the comic which eventually brought out the Judge (issue 2 or 3). The most attractive feature of 2000 AD was actually Dan Dare, not Dredd. I also remember a comic strip called Strontium Dog in the magazine which I also thought fascinating. This was a terrible loveless post apocalyptic world, a world at the end of its tether, where governments had failed and the control of the populace in a city of nearly a billion devolves to fascistic judges who dispense summary justice in situ. Urban is wonderful in this role, and the camera, like Thirlby (a well regarded and Heady lingers and loves every moment of this hyper violent futuristic thriller. Bodies explode, heads implode, and people are skinned alive, bullets spin through the air and tear open faces and teeth blast like shrapnel across the room. Limbs are blown off and bodies chopped up. The body count is amazing. This is a film that luxuriates in the gore it causes, and not a single death is inessential to the plot. In fact the horror, torment, misery, hopelessness, rule of crime and the vicious bloodshed is shot and shown as beautiful. As I watched this movie, I reflected on how impossible it would be to watch for instance a box office movie hit as this one is, that luxuriated on sex as this one does on violence, how controversial it would be to show glorious orgasms rather than exploding heads and skinnings, that perhaps the sheer number of plots and movies, excellent films, that show this level of violence, almost as if because we are in some way blocked towards connectedness, sexual or otherwise to the other, we seek release in the explosive force of bloodshed. After all power is sexy. We see the judge in leather, strapped down in uniform, with an anonymous helmet. Accompanying him we see a stunning young rookie judge in tight clothing. The sexual tension is palpable, and it adds to the thrill of seeing them kill and hold people’s lives in their hands. Interestingly enough, the use of the death penalty, something I have never agreed with, is to my mind shown here in all its utter futility. The fact that the judges hold the power of the death penalty over them does not in any way stop the murderous gang members from killing. Actually it doesn’t help that this is basically one great big police state: there is no trial, no jury, no weighing of evidence, forensic or otherwise. Once they kill, they know they are going to be executed. Thus there is no chance for a reprieve. They are forever on the wrong side of the law. And Judge Dredd is the law. Fascinating stuff: Fascism, great acting, great cinematography, good plot, gore, and tight leather clothes. Can’t wait for the next one.