In the last year some women and girls — Evelyn Salt, Lisbeth Salander and the lingerie-clad avengers of “Sucker Punch,” among others — have been shooting and not just clawing their way into macho territory. Is this empowerment or exploitation? Feminism or fetishism? The chief film critics of The New York Times, Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott, discuss the new pow, crash and splat...Read more
Jean-Luc Godard posited that all he needed to make a movie was a girl and a gun. (Some of his later work makes me wish he had stuck to that formula.) To put the gun in the hands of the girl may be a way to cut out the middleman, as it were, and also, as you suggest, to maximize commercial potential by providing something for everyone. I think that calculation works best when the filmmakers show some interest in exploring the complex intertwinings of sex and violence, rather than simply mashing them up or using one as a substitute for the other. On the other hand, it’s sometimes just fun to watch Saoirse Ronan or Ellen Page — or all the other sisters of Angelina Jolie, our era’s pioneering and still supreme female action star — beat up some deserving Badman.