In 2021, many series have been singled out for their uninhibited violence. Return on three scenes which particularly marked us.
On the scale of violence, not all series are created equal. In 2021, there was the entertaining bloodshed of season 10 of American Horror Story, the grand-guignolesque gore of Cowboy Bebop or the uninhibited fury of Squid Game.
A victim of its own success, the South Korean phenomenon became, for a few months, the main concern of parents and schools. Despite its ban to children under 16, fiction has been invited into some playgrounds, to the chagrin of adults.
Other programs, less mainstream this time, have not gone with the back of the spoon either. We think, for example, of the animated series Invincible or that scene from the penultimate episode of Lisey’s Story in which the heroine, played by Julianne Moore, is beaten up by an individual for several minutes.
Excessive or moderate, justified or totally free, these sequences have made people talk. It is up to the viewer to choose how he interprets them with his own sensitivity. Three other scenes, even more disturbing, caught our attention and raised some questions. Decryption.
The Handmaid’s Tale, the most revolting
In the 3rd episode of season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale, June (Elisabeth Moss) is betrayed by Nick (Max Minghella). Taken prisoner, she undergoes intense torture by the minions of Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) so that she reveals where the other fleeing Servants are hidden. Blows, water cure, threat of amputation of her fingers, June is once again abused but holds on and gives bad information. Big mistake: because of her, other Servants are thrown from the top of a roof.
If the young woman is sadly used to physical torture since Gilead’s start, it will only be the psychological pain in the face of the fear in her daughter Hannah’s eyes that June will bow and denounce the other Handmaids. Since seasons 3 and 4, the series has been under the influence of many critics who denounce the exploitation of female trauma and this long passage of season 4 has given the detractors something to grind. Did we really need more scenes like this on the show? Is she really necessary for the story? The series falls more and more into the ease of torture porn, which sometimes affects the relevance of the subject. MC
The Underground Railroad, the most graphic
From the first episode of The Underground Railroad, his miniseries both historical and fictional on slavery, Barry Jenkins – who takes on the roles of creator and director – sets the tone. The scene takes place during a social lunch in front of the Randall Plantation. A slave, Big Anthony (Elijah Everett), was captured after his escape attempt. For the example, he is brought in front of the large family home where the guests are seated, suspended from a gallows by the arms.
All the slaves of the plantation are brought to come to attend the punishment which is reserved for him, in order to dissuade them not to escape. The rest is incredibly violent. Big Anthony is whipped, his torso is ragged and he is then burned alive. The scene was traumatic for Barry Jenkins and the crew to shoot, so much so that a psychologist accompanied them throughout, as well as throughout the shoot. With this series, Jenkins wanted to show the inhumanity of the slavers. From this point of view, it is perfectly successful. ES
Them, the most difficult to watch
In Episode 5 of his Them series, creator Little Marvin takes a step back to explain the trauma of his character Lucky (Deborah Ayorinde) and the reasons the Emory family moved. Alone in her house, with her baby for only company, the young woman is attacked by three individuals who will force her front door and attack her child. The latter is plunged into a bag by one of the criminals who will have fun spinning it in the air.
The scene is incredibly violent, barely qualifying. It is also one of the first times that infanticide has been filmed so explicitly in American fiction. The streak angered many critics and viewers on social media. Many accuse the creator of instrumentalizing racial violence to satisfy a desire for provocation. The first concerned defends himself and affirms that he wanted to express his anger through this sequence, resulting from one of his nightmares. TD