I watched The Hurt Locker for the first time the other day. It was a good movie. I didn’t think it was particularly Great with a capital G, but it was entertaining. I mean, it wasn’t mind blowing or life changing or anything and I will probably never watch it again unless it happens to be on at someone else’s house. But it was good. I had Netflixed it, and I will definitely not buy it. I suppose it was a realistic war movie. I say ‘I suppose’ because I’ve never been anywhere close to war, but it seemed realistic for the most part, minus the one Specialist going to try and find that DVD –selling kid at his house. That probably wouldn’t happen. But who knows.
Anyway, the thing that caught my attention was at the beginning of the movie where that show that it’s rated R. The explanation was “war violence”. This tag probably appears on all war movies, this is just the first time I really noticed. I began to wonder the difference between war violence and “regular” violence.  I mean, if a dude gets shot or blown up, what difference does it make if the guy is wearing fatigues? Not to say that members of our military are not more important than everyday civilians who do nothing every day, but I mean that, in terms of a movie rating being a guide for parents to determine what they want their kids to watch, what’s the difference? Is war violence more acceptable to society? Would a parent be more willing to allow their children to watch a violent war movie with people getting shot, stabbed, and blown up over a movie like The Goodfellas, or Casino, or any other non-war movie that is pretty violent. If so, why?
I was thinking that, because it’s war, it is, in a way, less realistic as a movie. That is to say, watching men dressed in military uniforms shooting and being shot seems more normal than the exact same scene enacted on a city street, between people in suits and therefore less likely to desensitize a child to violence. With war, comes killing, so it’s just kind of expected and justified and excusable. If a kid asks why these people are killing each other, a parent can just say because they’re in a war and that’s a complete answer. That kind of behavior is clearly not acceptable in everyday life—it’s alright only if it’s in a war. But stabbing a dude in the neck with a ballpoint pen at a bar is just not okay.

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