Take the Gangsters out of Gangster Squad?

Due to the recent, horrifying events in Colorado, Warner Brothers Studios has decided to not only push the release date of the highly expected film Gangster Squad (starring Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone) from September to January, but to remove an important scene as well. This controversial scene is of the gangsters shooting at rival gangsters while in a movie theatre– and due to the fact that the trailer for this movie was shown before The Dark Knight Rises, which was involved in the shooting, and disturbed many viewers, the scene has been removed. Warner Brothers had the trailer pulled both from theatres and the internet in the United States in order to reshoot the scene in a new location. While I agree that it is appropriate to push back the release date of the film, I am still unsure whether I agree or not with their decision to change the scene. I wonder whether the removal/change of this scene will change the overall quality and plot of the movie. I understand that because of the recent events people are being more sensitive to violence in films and the media, but should we allow this monster to take the movies away and make us terrified of violence? No one questioned the movie theatre shooting scene in Inglorious Bastards in 2009 (the film was even nominated and won many of the Oscars that year), but we question an identical scene in 2012– is it simply because no one is firing an automatic rifle at Hitler and Nazis in Gangster Squad? 

Personally, I think people should not shy away from violence, rather we should show it accurately. The media will shy away at the last second and the audience is never subjected to the full impact of the violence and what, in reality, violence is and what it causes. For example, in the recent film The Hunger Games, a majority of the violence takes place “off stage” where the audience doesn’t see it and the film maintains its core audience with a PG-13 rating– but due to the lack of graphic violence that was present in the novel, the film lacked the important social commentary and central theme, and instead focused on teenage angst and young love. Am I saying that every movie with violence needs to be as graphic as Scarface? No, what I am saying is that if the director wants to show violence, then show the audience the reality of violence. So, to sum up my argument, I feel that while violence should be judged based on the audience and recent events, but we shouldn’t be afraid of showing people what violence causes and does to people.

What do you think of this issue? And what do you think of the changes made to Gangster Squad?



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