Alice and Silent Alarms

DKC and I watched another Woody Allen film last night: Alice, an interesting adaptation of Alice in Wonderland that I enjoyed, despite the fact that it disturbed me. It was a relatively tame Allen movie, and it’s a definite three stars for me, but I think part of what disturbed me so much is that it portrayed a woman who fairly calmly, deliberately decides to have an affair. Don’t get me wrong–the thought of it disturbs her, but she goes ahead and does it anyway. And yes, her husband is portrayed as a jerk, and yes, we eventually learn that he’s been having multiple flings on the side, but still–the fact is that she sees a guy, thinks he’s cute, and then decides to ask him out. Yada yada yada . . . her marriage is over. (I’m not spoiling the movie for you too much here–there’s also a cool Chinese doctor, magic herbs, ghosts and other fantasy elements–it’s really much brighter than I’m painting here.)

In any case, this got me thinking. A lot of the time I think we assume that making REALLY wrong decisions is something difficult to do–almost as if we expect some alarm to off to alert us before we make a bad choice. Not just your typical everyday blunder, but a biggie. Adultery, murder–that sort of thing. But in the end, those choices are just like any other we face in life. No alarms. No SWAT team to step in and stop you. One minute you’re a non-adulterer, and the next minute you are. I know there are some choices I’ve made over the years that I deeply regretted later on, and it would have been nice to have that alarm go off. But it doesn’t.

Crazily enough, this then led me to think about villains in books and their motivations. How many people in the world are like this–they made a stupid decision, and then they handled the consequences of that decision poorly. Before you know it, you’re a slave to circumstance, finding yourself in a situation you didn’t want to be in but don’t know how to get out of.

This post is getting too philosophical for me now. I don’t have any deep dark secrets I’m brooding about–just a Woody Allen movie that actually made me think. The nerve of the guy . . .

Anyone have any thoughts to share on these ramblings?

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2 Responses to Alice and Silent Alarms

  1. raisinfish says:

    I like the idea of villains having motivations that make sense. They need to be wrong, of course, but if they can arrive at their wrongness in a way that makes sense, in a way that progresses from somewhere we can relate to, it makes for a more complicated, layered story. (Unless it’s horror, of course. Because sometimes no motivation is much, much scarier.)
    I watched Memento this week, by the way. FABULOUS movie. Even at the end, where I could see we were almost done, I couldn’t figure out how it was all going to fit together. And then, Bang, it all snaps together perfectly. Christopher Nolan is slightly eclipsing Tim Burton as my favorite director. The Prestige was already one of my all time favorites.

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