In a remarkable turn of events this past week, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein announced his retirement from making hyper-violent films. In an interview with Piers Morgan, he declared, “I’m not going to make some crazy action movie just to blow up people and exploit people.”
Worth an estimated $150 million from his entertainment enterprises with Miramax and now Weinstein Co., Mr. Weinstein has been a supporter of disturbingly gory human-on-human violence in movies. He is also a well-known supporter of the Democratic party and its push for stricter gun control. His latest movie project starring Meryl Streep takes aim at the NRA.
Apparently an inner conflict involving the documented correlation between ferocious entertainment and real-life gun violence motivated Weinstein’s course alteration.
His most famous films include partnerships with lauded filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, including his recent gore-fest Django Unchained. OK.com users rated the uber-violent western film only appropriate for Mature audiences 18+, rating a 9/10 on violence ratings. It reportedly featured dozens of killings by guns, dogs and even a woman’s face being seared by a branding iron. Other films backed by Weinstein include Pulp Fiction (OK M18+) and Gangs of New York (OK M18+).
Some film enthusiasts defend the Weinstein-backed Tarantino films as cinematic brilliance. While their claims of his cinematic innovation may have merit, lauding technique while ignoring such inhumane fare requires mental gymnastics I apparently can’t muster.
Albeit delayed and much damage already done, I welcome Weinstein’s acknowledgement of violent Hollywood’s duplicity, and his resulting change of heart. In his own words, “I can’t do it. I can’t make one movie and say this is what I want for my kids, and then just go out and be a hypocrite.”
Ironically, when I wrote about the dangers of violent entertainment as an important factor in our gun conversation, denials mounted defending the difference between cinema and reality. Nevertheless, the weight of hundreds of studies show clear correlations between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior. Combined with Weinstein’s alteration shift, the case for less violent entertainment seems altogether clear.
In consideration for our impressionable children and their social and emotional development, let’s hope Weinstein’s change of heart will catch on among his peers.