The Scene of Violence
Cinema, Crime, Affect
By Alison Young
Routledge-Cavendish – 2010 – 196 pages
In the contemporary fascination with images of crime, violence gets under our skin and keeps us enthralled. The Scene of Violence explores the spectator’s encounter with the cinematic scene of violence – rape and revenge, homicide and serial killing, torture and terrorism. Providing a detailed reading of both classical and contemporary films – for example, Kill Bill, Blue Velvet, Reservoir Dogs, The Matrix, Psycho, The Accused, Elephant, Seven, Thelma & Louise, United 93, Zodiac, and No Country for Old Men – Alison Young returns the affective processes of the cinematic image to the study of law, crime and violence. Engaging with legal theory, cultural criminology and film studies, the book unfolds both our attachment to the authority of law and our identification with the illicit. Its original contribution is to bring together the cultural fascination of crime with a nuanced account of what it means to watch cinema. The Scene of Violence shows how the spectator is bound by the laws of film to the judgment of the crime-image.
'Alison Young may be the best law and film scholar in the world. Her insight and eminence in the field are amply on display in The Scene of Violence. Here Young draws our attention to what she calls "the spectatorial relation engendered by film." No one who watches a film will ever watch it the same way after reading this book. No one who has ever thought about the relationship of law, violence and film will ever think about them the same way after reading this book. The Scene of Violence will be an instant classic.' – Austin Sarat, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College
1. The Crime-Image 2. Judging the Affect of Screen Violence 3. "Don’t You Fucking Look At Me": Sexual Injury, Vision and Cinematic Revenge 4. The Serial Killer’s Accomplice 5. The Cinema of Disaster: Screening 9/11 6. No End to Violence?