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The Crow is a thoroughly 90s action movie based on an awesome comic book by J. O'Barr. The first I heard of it was in 1993 or so when I read that Brandon Lee had died filming it. I went and saw the movie on the recommendation of my brother, and it was definitely a movie that had an impact on me.

You've gotta remember, I was, what, 20 when this movie came out. If you think I'm passionate and opinionated now, I'm motherfucking Ghandi compared to when I was in my 20s. The Crow crystallized a lot of rage I was feeling, though it didn't really give me a target. It's probably good that I didn't know shit about scene or subculture (or how close Detroit really was to Toledo), or else you'd have found me at clubs like the Pit. As dirty, violent and unpleasant as the world of the Crow was, it moved me and I wanted to be part of it somehow. I knew, of course, that I didn't really want to shoot morphine or get shot or hurt people, but I grew up white and boring in suburbia. What The Crow showed me looked exotic, as weird as that is.

And, of course, it didn't hurt that I was playing Wraith and Vampire and similar games, which took a lot of their aesthetic from The Crow and similar sources (there was even an unofficial sourcebook for The Crow, though they called it Risen). And, of course, the soundtrack was badass. Yeah, it stuck in my mind.

OK, so the quick-n-dirty synopsis: Eric Draven (Lee) and his fiancee are murdered the night before their wedding by a crew of thugs clearing the building for their gangster boss. Eric comes back a year later, bursting out of his grave and hunting down the men responsible. At first, it's just the four guys that actually killed him, but he winds up confronting Top Dollar (Michael Wincott, in probably the best role of his career) and taking him out before returning to the afterlife with Shelly.

The movie got press because Brandon Lee died in an accident on set (the brass casing of a pistol round got lodged in the barrel, and then fired when the gun was reloaded with blanks, killing Lee). There's footage of him talking about the role, and one of the chilling things he says is that, when you look at, say, a moonrise or a sunset, you might wonder, "how many more times in my life will I do this?" Time is finite. The movie is about that, mixed in with all the set dressing and the Nine Inch Nails and the swordplay and gunplay, it's a story about love and how it's just not fair that good people have their time stolen from them by bad people.

I think that, more than anything, was what pissed me off when I saw the movie. J. O'Barr's girlfriend was killed by a drunk driver, which spurred him to write The Crow, as I recall. He understands that sense of unfairness. I've never had anyone directly in my life taken away like that; closest I've come is Matt, but when he was murdered I hadn't spoken to him in years. When I was 20, I maybe felt a kind of purity in that anger, that when the crow brought a man back for revenge that was good and damn, but that should happen. As I've gotten older, I know that nothing's ever that simple. People aren't so much good or bad as people; even people we see as "good" have their crappy habits and beliefs. But I still feel understand the desire for retribution, and though I think it's kind of toxic, I admit that when Eric shows up in Funboy's room or Tintin's alley or Gideon's shop or Top Dollar's meeting, I love the subtle look of fear they all manage to conjure up. Some part of them knows we're fucked now, and I derive satisfaction from that, even in a fictional context.

My Grade: A-
Rewatch Value: High

Next up: Cube

Date: 2012-04-13 07:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] draxar.livejournal.com
I remember reading a thing about James O'Barr, where he said that for all the fame and money it's brought him, he wishes he hadn't written The Crow, because it both failed at its original intent (catharsis for the death of his girlfriend, writing it made him angrier about it), and resulted in someone else's death too.

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