Friday, 14 January 2011

The Running Man - 30 Dec 2010 - 13 Jan 2011

Outstanding! For a number of reasons. First and foremost is that it's nothing like the film. Yes, I know the book came first and I should be saying the film is nothing like the book...

However, my chronology is all messed up. As a kid, I definitely saw the film first, then read the book. The thing is, I may as well have been reading it for the first time, this time around as hardly any of it seemed familiar.

Anyway, to business; I loved the book. Loved it. It reeks of the same jilted nihilism as Roadwork and the world it evokes is much closer to the dystopian classics than the jingoistic, wronged lone justice-seekers of the eighties, typified by Schwarzenegger and Stallone.

The humanity of it, opposed to the brute murder and one-liners of the film, and the inevitability of our living in such a world in the not too distant future have made this book something of a surprise high-rater. Buzzing.

It struck me the other day when talking to my mum, and then considering her, my dad and mother-in-law's literary and televisual preoccupation with crime drama how their outlooks differ to mine. My mum and mother-in-law watch CSI and Law and Order like bastards. My dad and mum can't get enough of Michael Connelly (I'll admit I've read 6/7 of his books and was well into them). I think this speaks of a knowledge and understanding that we live in shit-horrible times where the wicked run amok, but there are always the forces of good battling away and proving victorious against the forces of evil. I suppose that's the vein tapped by comic book superheroes too. Plus the fascist cop element.

For me, it's just pure fucking desolation and any payoff comes from opening your eyes further than the average bear and seeing the world for what it is and realising things like popular entertainment, culture and faith in the powers (whether temporal or celestial) are only distractions from how utterly and crushingly bereft of hope we are. Jesus, that's depressing. It's like earning your place in an elite club where you get to eat these amazing, handmade gourmet chocolates. Except they taste of turd. All self-serving feelings of superiority hang by a thread when faced with such a bitter reward.

Our fascination with dystopian works is a bit weird. Whether they're indictments of the current state or portents of how bollocks it's bound to get, you don't get points for seeing it that way and those that do see it don't seem to be prepared or making preparations for it.

Anyway, the book is great and pisses on the film. That said I have a fondness for the film and, seeing as I bought it for £3 a few months ago, I'll be watching it again, any day now.

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