"that’s something only people like you can do."

so i was thinking the other day while walking to — or from — work about arbogast’s recent “who would you save?” question and the fact that it seems to beg the question, “who wouldn’t you save?” if the first question is all about whose death makes you sad, then whose death makes you want to get up and do a little clogdance of joy? who do you really just want to dropkick into the shark’s gaping jaws?

seems logical, right?

and, like the first question, there are just so many options. (and, fair warning, there are probably spoilers here. read with care.)

lets run through a few — after all, it’s monday morning — not like you’ve got anything better to do with your time, right?

1. alice krige as christabella in silent hill. why? because she is an evil, evil, terrifying woman with a taste for religious extremism and burning people alive, that’s why.

we’re not even talking ‘dressed in a little brief authority’ time, here; we’re talking about a frighteningly charismatic, strongwilled woman with a grip like iron in a tiny, isolated community that has no way to developing the backbone to break her grip. she has made up her own rules and convinced or forced everyone else to believe they are a good idea — why? because — most of the time — they sort of work in that the “bad things” go away when people listen to her. of course, this also means quiet acquiescence in child sacrifice and a set of religious rules that would have made the inquisition think twice, but hey — so long as your scary, ash-shrouded, entirely soundless town stays working, right?

2. christopher eccleston as major west in 28 days later. under normal circumstances, i’d walk over broken glass in bare feet — metaphorically speaking — to save any character played by christopher eccleston (see dci billborough in part 3 of “to be somebody” in the first season of cracker for a prime example).

but major west would be the exception. one of the great successes of 28 days is that there are — to coin a phrase — no particularly easy answers. there isn’t anyone available to hate — the rage virus is released by people with the best motives in the world. there’s no grand evil scientist, no cackling villain, no arch-nemesis super-power. it’s just one big fuck-up where things go horrifically wrong. and, on the whole, west isn’t what you’d normally call a loathe-worthy character. he’s really trying to do the best he can in a situation which is so far out of his control it isn’t even funny any more. he’s managed to keep his men in one piece and clean; he’s even created a sort-of safe zone in a manor house. the problem is that “the best he can” means handing over two women (one barely old enough to not be called a “girl” anymore) who arrive looking for sanctuary to his men as sex toys. not a great idea, really.

i can’t say i cheer when the inevitable happens and his own men turn on him — after all, there are extenuating circumstances and they don’t turn on him, shall we say, willingly or even of their own volition — but it is definitely one of those “yup, that had to happen” moments.

3. sergi lopez as captain vidal in pan’s labyrinth. and here we return to the hateable character as psychopath. or possibly sociopath. or both! i have a hard time remembering the difference and, really vidal is just so fucked up, why not give him the credit of both?

i went to see pan’s in the movie theatre and i’ve seen it once since on the small screen and, much as i love it and gorgeous as i think it is, i don’t think i’m going to see it again any time soon. it is hard to sit through and vidal doesn’t make it any easier. you start off thinking that he’s just going to be the ordinary mean step-parent in what is clearly a fairytale — and then he bludgeons a poacher to death with the butt of his sidearm. this is upping the ante in a really meaningful way — mean stepfather? not so much — lets go straight for psychologically disturbed murderer. if you don’t hate him then, what about when he ignores the doctor’s advice so his wife dies in childbirth? what about when he tortures the resistance fighter? what about when he plans to do the same to mercedes? or what about when he…well, i don’t want to absolutely ruin the ending for those of you who haven’t seen it, but those of you who have, when he does that? yes? with me on this one? good.

the audience in the theatre applauded when he died.

and on that note — do, please, enjoy the rest of your monday! 🙂

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