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John Drew

Who are the most amoral characters?

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I saw the two threads about best male and female role models, and was curious to know what characters y'all thought might be the most amoral portrayed in film.

Yesterday, I saw Young Adam, and was completely taken aback by the loathsome character of Joe, brilliantly portrayed by Ewan McGregor.

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This character, a would be writer who can't seem produce more than a sentence or two before chucking his work in the garbage, has nothing more going for him than an interesting face and the ability to string some flowery words together to bait his next carnal conquest - most of whom are women that are either 1) already sexually frustrated, or 2) lack any sort of self-respect. Joe not only is a disgraceful opportunist, but a coward on top of it... one willing to let others suffer the consequences of his actions.

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While the movie is filled with spectacular performances, and is very well produced on almost every level, I really felt the need to bathe after seeing it. I'd not sure I'd recommend this movie... maybe only to those who are die-hard fans of McGregor and don't mind seeing a movie of an extremely adult nature. It easily earns its NC-17 rating.

Aside from this, what characters - and I mean characters that a film is built around - have you felt really don't have any redeeming qualities by the end of their story?


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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Malcolm MacDowell/Paul Bettany as the Gangster in Gangster No.1.

MacDowell again, of course, in a benchmark of immorality: Alex in A Clockwork Orange.

Hayden Christiansen in everything he has ever done and will do period no tag backs.

Actually, 98% of Juliette Lewis' resume as well.

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Edited by Jason Bortz

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Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas ... on second thought, EVERYONE in Leaving Las Vegas ...


"The most important thing is that people love in the same way. Whether they are monarchists, republicans, or communists, they feel pain in the same way, as well as hatred, jealousy, fear, and fear of death. Whether you are a deeply religious man or an atheist, if you have a toothache, it hurts just the same." - Krzysztof Kieslowski

"...it seems to me that most people I encounter aren't all that interested in the arts. Most of the people who are my age ... appear to be interested in golf, fertilizer, and early retirement schemes.... I will stop caring passionately about music, books, and films on the day that I die, and I'm hoping for Top 100 album polls in the afterlife." - Andy Whitman

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Actually, 98% of Juliette Lewis' resume as well.

Can't say why, exactly, but this really cracked me up.

Hey, how 'bout Harry, Ron, and Hermione? wink.gif

How about the entire crew of TV's Alias, except maybe Marshall and Weiss?


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Hayden Christiansen in everything he has ever done and will do period no tag backs.

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I know you don't care for him, but I found him rather good in Shattered Glass, playing a character that may not be totally amoral, but certainly with questionable traits.

Actually, 98% of Juliette Lewis' resume as well.

And what are the 2%? I'm hard pressed to figure them out. laugh.gif


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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The two most stunningly amoral characters I have ever encountered were not in film, but in literature.

One is Graham Greene's six-toothed mulatto in The Power and the Glory, a relentlessly venal and nauseatingly ingratiating character with a limitless capacity for treachery and self-interest (the version of the character in John Ford's 1947 The Fugitive, a cleaned-up and watered-down reimagining of Greene's story, doesn't compare).

The other is Count Smokrev in Michael O'Brian's Father Elijah, a dissipated old heathen of almost satanic ferocity whose debate with Father Elijah is a nearly Dostoyevskian highlight of that book.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Hey, SDG, my wife's re-reading "Father Elijah." Do you like that book?

And since you've mentioned Greene, what about Michael Caine's character in The Quiet American?

What about Sonny Corleone?


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I don't know why I've been hard pressed to think of any female characters that might fit the bill, but I finally came up with three:

Linda Fiorentino as Bridget Gregory/Wendy Kroy in The Last Seduction.

Kathleen Turner as Matty Walker in Body Heat.

and Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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The other is Count Smokrev in Michael O'Brian's Father Elijah, a dissipated old heathen of almost satanic ferocity whose debate with Father Elijah is a nearly Dostoyevskian highlight of that book.

Huh, well what about Smerdyakov? Or Dmitri?


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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I second Jason's mention of A Clockwork Orange -- isn't that the whole point of the film?

Yeah, it seems to be Stanley Kubrick's ultimate point with the movie, however it wasn't Anthony Burgess' ultimate point with the book.

The films 3 acts pretty faithfully follow the first 3/4's of Burgess' novel, but then leaves out the final 1/4. In that part of the book we are left with the idea that Alex is coming to the end of his rebellious ways, with his thoughts turning more and more away from nights running about looking for a bit of the old ultraviolence, and more towards settling down, finding a girl, and starting a family. He isn't yet on that path at the end of the novel, but knowing that these thoughts are running through his mind leaves the reader a faint glimmer of hope that, through free will, Alex can do for himself what the government was trying impose on his mind.


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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movern callar in movern callar. i really wanted to have a high opinion of this film, but found it shockingly indifferent to its own characters--most of all movern.

another film i recently saw was camp, portraying adolescents at theatre camp. none of the characters seemed to have a moral framework and treated each other accordingly. this seemed to be just fine with the writer/director, which left me feeling totally depressed about the future of american youth--at least the american youth who like to dress up in spangles and belt tunes from "dreamgirls."

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Edited by kebbie

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The Tapeworm in Irreversible

Toecutter in Mad Max

Anybody in any Larry Clark film.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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Hey, SDG, my wife's re-reading "Father Elijah." Do you like that book?

And since you've mentioned Greene, what about Michael Caine's character in The Quiet American?

What about Sonny Corleone?

Yeah, Father Elijah is a good read, not consistently brilliant or elegantly constructed, but shot through with spiritual insights and wonderful vignettes. The Smokrev debate is definitely a highlight.

If your wife likes Father Elijah, and I'm going to go out on a limb here and hypothesize that I actually know something about your wife based on the bits and pieces I've gleaned from you, but I think she should DEFINITELY read the prequel, Strangers and Sojourners, which is not only literarily head and shoulders above anything else O'Brian has written before or since, but is a really textured character drama that displays a level of insight into O'Brian's female protagonist that has seriously impressed every woman I know who's read the book.

Haven't read the original Quiet American, but Caine's character in the film definitely qualifies as amoral.

I still have not seen any Godfather film all the way through.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

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Rachel Weisz' character in Neil Labute's The Shape of Things

Oh, and Amanda Peet's character in Changing Lanes! I wasn't crazy about that film, and she only has one speech in it that matters, but man, what a cold-blooded, clear-eyed affirmation of self-interest that one speech is.

(Don't ask me what the connection is between Rachael Weisz and Amanda Peet.)


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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