I was watching the independent film Child of God directed by James Franco, and I was thinking this is pure shit. The main character was wiping shit off his ass in my defense. The movie is based on a book written by a favorite author of mine Cormac McCarthy. Like many of his stories it explores the darkest sides of human nature and what we’re capable of. His stories can be quite grotesque on the screen and maybe more effective. Some people might say it’s not artistic or culturally relevant but pornographic and therefore pointless.
These dark things we do need to be expressed artistically and discussed as part of our society. While the actions of these characters are horrendous and disgusting and complete trash, the telling of the story needs to be done.Why? Because, the world is full of these characters and we have to understand them. We have to think about where these people come from, why they do the things that are so outside of the norm, and what to do about them. We have to ask questions and McCarthy forces us to do that.
One of the greatest literary hero’s Atticus Finch said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” You have to do that in such a crazy diverse world as the one we live in. Fictional characters like Bob Ewell from To Kill a Mockingbird or Lester Ballard from Child of God are overshadowed by evil characters in our real world. A story like Child of God helps us explore why these evil characters are out there, how they act, why they do bad things, and what a good society should do about it. Through the art of story telling we are able to get into the skin of very bad people and walk around a bit. That should help us get a different point of view in our own world.
Child of God is in my opinion a shit movie, but the story is art of the highest culture. James Franco does the world a good by bringing some fine literary works to the screen, even if they are cheaply done and not all that great. In my opinion anyway. The lessons are great and attention is given to some great authors.