So The Physicist, Musician, Resident Cousin and I were discussing on the way home from amazing Chinese food the other night… Why is it that some people (TRC and myself) have no problem with really quite graphically violent books (eg. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) and cannot stand violent films (I won’t watch anything that’s 18/R-rated and I usually have misgivings about 15/MA ratings)? And vice versa?
The Physicist was arguing that in a film, you can look away. You can tell from the soundtrack when the bodies have been dragged away/gunfire has stopped/evil aliens have stopped mutating, whereas in a book you just have to keep reading the gory details. I disagree – you can read with more or less attentiveness and you can always skip a few pages.
My theory is that my brain just can’t conjure the images, so when, as in my current read, a woman with a gunshot wound to the head is dragged out of the Hudson attached brutally and graphically to a ladder, my brain says “ladder, woman, gunshot” in quite an abstract, disengaged way. Show me that on a screen and there’s no getting away from someone else’s visualisation of it. Plus if you look away in the scary bIts, you miss loads of salient plot details!
What do you think?