By Darcy Crowder
I love discussing villains, or more specifically, that murky grey area of is he or isn’t he. Not the obvious traditional evil-doer the hero triumphs over, but the more questionable misunderstood character we want to root for. Because, after all, the mark of well-written character is one who is a delicious blend of good and bad. How we view him in the end depends on the recipe…
Consider, for example, one of my all time favorite movies – Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom of the Opera. Certainly the original version of the story made it clear that the phantom was the villain. And I suppose, in the true sense of the word, he still is in this musical version. But what woman didn’t view this movie and secretly wish the phantom could be redeemed?
Such passion. Such virile manliness. Sigh. Yes, his love didn’t just flirt with obsession, it embraced it wholeheartedly! But still…
We’re given a deeper insight to his life, his lack of acceptance, family, and love. Gerard Butler portrayed the phantom’s anguish and desire with such depth of feeling that we wanted to forgive him anything.
Wanted him to be the hero.
Then there’s the case of the hero who starts out a little villainous and through the course of the story we get to watch him grow into his role. A favorite example of this is the movie A Good Year, with Russell Crowe.
Max Skinner (Crowe) is a ruthless stock-trader completely absorbed with acquiring wealth and sticking it to the “other guy”. Life takes a turn when he inherits his uncle’s failing French vineyard, causing him to return to this beloved place of his childhood where he rediscovers himself and ultimately finds love. It’s a visually beautiful movie, but also a wonderful character study excellently portrayed by Crowe.
I highly recommend both of these movies. Stunning vistas (real and imaginary), hunky villain/heroes, beautiful heroines and romance. What’s not to love?