There are a handful of movies of which I recognize their brilliance and power, that I never care to see again. Off top of my head The Deer Hunter and Raging Bull come to mind, although after thirty years I’ve seen The Deer Hunting again, now able to face that scene in the jungle hut without my initial horror.
But foremost on that list is The Dark Knight. Although I saw it in the middle of the day when prices are cheaper and crowds smaller I can remember no specifics of Heath Ledger’s amazing performance because I’ve blocked it from my mind. What I remember is that he portrayed pure evil in a way not approached before in my experience. He embodied and indeed it seemed became pure evil in a way that disturbed me to watch, and which I knew I never wanted to see again.
I believe it killed those people in Colorado, and I believe it killed Heath Ledger.
While I think our allowing assault weapons in the hands of citizens is insane, I don’t think a ban would have stopped this man in Colorado from committing mass murder. And while I’m more troubled by background checks—should the fact that a citizen who has sought psychological help prevent him protecting himself from the crazies who haven’t? – no such law would have prevented this nutcase from arming himself. He had no “red flags”.
He amassed this arsenal over a period of months in preparation for a movie premier he knew was coming, and calling himself “ The Joker” portrayed in the flesh what he had seen on the screen. When the smoke clears I’m sure we’ll find he’s watched The Dark Knight more than once. My weak mind saw that I shouldn’t revisit that place. His weak mind was sucked into the dark side.
Hollywood certainly has the right to make that film. The First Amendment, as it should, guarantees it, but just because you have a right to say something does not exonerate you from its effect on your listeners.