The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hollywood Happy Endings

I just finished watching "Face/Off" on Netflix. It's a movie definitely from its era, but it's fun. I enjoy it. But what I think would have made the movie much better would be if John Travolta's character, Sean Archer, was forced to live the rest of his life with Castor Troy's (Nicolas Cage) face. They even had the perfect set up for it at the climax of the movie when Troy just starts knifing up his own face before being impaled on the end of the harpoon.

This comes from my personal belief that nothing comes without a price. Nothing gets resolved easily in real life without cost, why should it happen in the movies? Okay, for light-hearted fare, it's fine. But this is a movie that opens with the murder of a five-year-old boy. People die in all manner of gruesome ways, and Castor Troy rapes Archer's wife (sex under false pretenses like that is still rape). This is not a light-hearted movie. It's a big, over-the-top action movie, but it's not light-hearted. At all.

Sean Archer wins in the end. He kills his nemesis, he avenges his son, he has his family back, he adopts Castor's son. But the price should have been his face. In fact, the ending is so neatly tied-up that if I was told that John Woo wanted to end it this way, but the Hollywood suits wanted the happier ending, I'd believe it.

Is it a bittersweet ending? Yes. But it tilts a lot more heavily towards the sweet... in the grand scheme of things, his face is a small price to pay. In the grand scheme of things. But it's more real, it's a hell of a lot more dramatic. And it's a lot more honest. Everything has a price. Even in fantasy land.

1 comment:

  1. That was one of my favorite movies back in the day, and I think it holds up, though I haven't seen it in a while. But I'd considered that alternate ending, and it would have been interesting.