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  • Bang, Bang, CUT

    The whole backbone of the book is the discussion of whether violence in movies propogates violence in real life. In Popcorn [1996] Ben Elton tries to juxtapose an Oscar winning Director's violent movie with the actions of a modern day Bonnie and Clyde who are terrorising the country. The real problem I have with it are twofold: 1. The two plot lines are all a bit Pulp Fiction [1992] meets Reservoir Dogs [1994], but just the violent bits; there's none of the subtlety evident in the two movies. So much so, I started to think of Quentin Tarantino everytime we were in Bruce's (the fictional director) presence and as for our Natural Born Killers [1994] (yes, the throw back to the movie plot is deliberate - especially as it is a Tarantino story) I found myself thinking of Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer (as opposed to Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis). I can understand why there are similarities but it did feel as though the plot was lifted directly from these films. 2. The deliberate blurring of whether what we were being shown was real or fictional. Particularly towards the end of the book, there is deliberate blurring of whether this is all scripted and being acted out on a sound stage or if it is really happening. Unfortunately, it is clumsily executed so rather than being a deft tool it turns in to using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. The facile nature of fame is well executed in the tale though and I did enjoy that. Whether it is the red carpet phonys before and after the Oscar ceremony or the breathless media reporting of yet another atrocity. Unfortunately, it never manages to open the dialogue that it intends to (as all Mr Elton's novels are intended to) as it just owes too much to what has gone so recently before and his influences are definitely showing in this one. Maybe it would have been more impactful had I read it closer to release time when the media was full of scare stories but somehow I doubt it. Despite the subject matter it is a jolly enough read - if you don't mind blood, guts and gore aplenty. There are some reasonable character studies within the pages - especially Bruce and the downtrodden sidekick. Ultimately though it falls very short of the mark.

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