Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Clapping for Bad Guys

My next study deals with villains as protagonists and once again, I'm relying on my fellow bloggers to help me come up with film examples because most of the films I can think of are all on our dead protagonist list. Aren't there films where the protagonist is a villain but doesn't die? Off hand, I can only think of Munich, Swordfish, Catch Me if You Can, and Inside Man -- sort of. I actually need to watch them all again to refresh my memory. A little help?


shecanfilmit said...

A Simple Plan, The Godfather (almost any mob movie), The Professional, Croupier (if I recall correctly), Closer (characters not exactly criminal but garden-variety sociopaths), Grosse Point Blank (isn't the John Cusack character a hitman?), Domino (wait - she dies, right?), etc.

Anonymous said...

Harder than I thought. In a lot of these the characters are criminals but sympathetic -- does that make them villains? For a completely amoral protagonist Hud is a good example. A Clockwork Orange works well too.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Villain, criminal, bad guy -- any of those will work.

Eddie said...

The Usual Suspects
Pulp Fiction
Silence of the Lambs
Donnie Brasco
Phone Booth

Anonymous said...

Depends on how you are defining villain I suppose, but here are a few off the top of my head - Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Naked, The Godfather, Fight Club, The Crying Game, Marnie. The protagonists in those are all either habitual criminals or they break the law during the course of the film.

Milehimama said...

Biographical films, mob films, and con man films are the only ones that really spring to mind.

By villain I'm guessing you mean someone with willful disregard for the law, not someone who had to break a law for the greater good.

ConAir - the protag is a convicted felon, but, he's not a criminal, so I'm not sure that counts.
The series, Deadwood - everyone is pretty much bad there.
And every "Hooker with a Heart of Gold" movie.

"Brick" - The protag isn't a good guy; he's a drug dealer who is trying to find out why his ex-girlfriend was killed. Actually, ALL of the characters are pretty much villains of some sort, except maybe Brain. I watched it with the subtitles on, because I watned to catch all of the dialogue.

Milehimama said...

Oh, and The Cooler with William H. Macy. He's not a 'good guy', although not overtly a criminal, I guess...

driids said...

um... do slasher movies count?
Because the protagonist is generally the psychopathic monster type, and they never really get killed at the end.

And what about Downey Jr.'s character in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. He's a criminal, though not so much a villain.

Unk said...

The Man with no name -- Clint Eastwood in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY.

Mel Gibson in PAYBACK.

Both Paul Newman and Country Bob in THE STING.

Clint Eastwood in UNFORGIVEN.

Uma Thurman in KILL BILL 1 & 2.


James Caan in THIEF.

Billy Bob Thornton in SLING BLADE.



How about a vampire? Brad Pitt in INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE.

Jada Pinkett Smith in SET IT OFF.

Sean Penn in BAD BOYS.

Christian Slater in TRUE ROMANCE.

That's all I got.


mernitman said...

Usual Suspects was the first that popped into my head, then others that I now see your other readers have already named, but I don't think anyone cited THE PLAYER.

I'm especially intrigued by characters who twist the very concept of villain
v. hero, i.e. Mary Louise Parker as the happily drug-dealing mom in WEEDS...

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Well this list ought to keep me and Netflix busy for awhile. You guys are awesome!