It was just a matter of time before the Virginia Tech massacre was linked to the movie industry. So it turns out that one of the school’s professors, Paul Harrill, alerted The New York Times to the similarity between the most inexplicable of the images that murderer Cho Seung-Hui sent to NBC News, and an “art” film from his native South Korea that won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004. The prof hoped it would shed some light on what led Cho to kill 32 on Monday before turning the gun on himself. In a blog item, the NYT shows how the self-shot photo of Cho, and a still from the Web site of the pic Oldboy (aka Old Boy), look eerily similar, down to the poses. Certainly, Oldboy is a dark and disturbing movie about a seemingly ordinary businessman who, after being mysteriously imprisoned, goes on an extensive, exhausting rampage. NYT reviewer Manohla Dargis noted the film’s “body count and sadistic violence.” Even so, the pic received amazingly good and even great reviews from critics in the U.S. and around the world who (for reasons that escape me) loved its unsettling and terrifying tale of revenge told with relentless energy. Wrote Carina Chocano of the Los Angeles Times: “It says something when you come out of a film as weird and fantastical as Oldboy and feel that you’ve experienced something truly authentic. I just don’t know what. I can’t think of anything to compare it to.” Well, now we know to compare it to real life, don’t we? I just don’t understand how critics with even a shred of humanity keep supporting films that celebrate violence in all its awfulness. Makes me nauseous.
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