An article about Scars, and Jason's thoughts on the film

This short 'recreation-documentary' was shown on the UK's Channel 4 in July 2006.

Moderators: thunder, Gillian, Chari910, catloveyes, Helen8, fruitbat, kjshd05, Marie, kate, again

User avatar
Gillian
Site Admin
Posts: 4407
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:00 pm

An article about Scars, and Jason's thoughts on the film

Post by Gillian » Fri Jul 07, 2006 7:40 pm

From the Times Online

Say hello to Chris, he's a smasher
The confessions of a brutal criminal make terrifying viewing, says Paul Hoggart

Slashing a woman’s face (as a warning to her brother); jumping up and down on a man’s head; crushing an informer’s legs against a wall with a car; dousing a security guard in petrol and threatening to set him alight. This is a small sample of the attacks described by a former violent criminal called Chris in Scars. They are not the worst: others were much more gruesome.

“Chrisâ€

User avatar
Minuet
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 6:45 pm
Location: Nashville
Contact:

Post by Minuet » Sat Jul 08, 2006 8:54 am

I have to see this. :cool:

User avatar
Sarah
Posts: 149
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 12:04 pm
Location: Richmond, VA
Contact:

Post by Sarah » Sun Jul 09, 2006 2:25 pm

Yes you do. I just saw it this moring, and it was definately impressive. Thank you Char.

User avatar
Hilary the Touched
Site Registrant
Posts: 6966
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2005 2:11 pm
Location: The Frozen North
Contact:

Post by Hilary the Touched » Tue Jul 11, 2006 10:16 am

I watched this online (thank you thank you Char!!) and was just blown away.
The difference in picture quality was compensated for by the fact that I was viewing Chris from a couple of feet away, which added to the sort of voyeuristic sensation I felt.

I also have to applaud the interviewer's inclusion--it made a lot more sense to follow the questioner's gingerly prodding, and to hear what provoked Chris' responses. The director was obviously treading a fine line, pressing for clarity but trying to avoid provoking Chris or making him shut down.

I thought Jason did an absolutely amazing job of portraying the huge range of Chris' responses, his self-loathing, his fear for his son, his anger at his own father, and just once, near the end, slipping into the adrenaline-fueled rush he remembered before being newly repulsed.

I was frightened by Chris because of what he had demonstrated he was capable of, but he was also an intelligent man who seemed to be trying hard to figure out how to become a better person, a "normal" person, and I felt sorry for him. As this reviewer points out, while Chris' violence provides him with power, it is also a constant threat to him: he has committed crimes so serious they have no statute of limitations, so to a degree, he has no recourse but to suppress and ignore their memory.



He reminded me rather a lot of my brother-in-law, a gruff but joking kind of guy who does what they call "decorating" in England--I guess here you'd say he was a contractor. He does all sorts of small construction work, dabbles in electrical and plumbing stuff, paints indoors and out. Hard-drinking and takes no shit, but he can also be a right laugh.

User avatar
Gillian
Site Admin
Posts: 4407
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:00 pm

Post by Gillian » Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:32 pm

The magazine containing the article is currently being auctioned off on ebay, if anyone wants. There's a full page photo accompanying it of Jason at his most intense.

Say hello to Chris

Chari910
Multimedia Maven
Posts: 5162
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2005 2:11 pm
Contact:

Post by Chari910 » Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:37 pm

SOLD!

Thanks Gillian.

User avatar
Bellatrix
Posts: 106
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2006 4:23 am
Location: Northampton, UK

Post by Bellatrix » Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:14 am

If anyone had told me that Jason could be completely vile I would never have believed them...until I saw Scars.

Chris was a horrid, horrid creature and sadly, not a rarity. At first, I thought he was a product of his environment but I'm not actually convinced he was - not entirely. Had he been, I could have made allowances to some extent but in truth, I feel he was nothing more than a greedy and selfish thug. Ok, he appeared to be remorseful but even so...

I found the film incredibly difficult to deal with because it was such an alien subject for me in some ways, yet so familiar in others. I grew up in a violent household (my mother broke both of my legs, fractured my skull, stabbed me several times etc. I am actually covered in scars.), so I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of someone else's vehemence. However, I made myself a promise at quite a young age that I would never be like that, so whilst I don't call myself a pacifist per se, the most fundamental part of my being is that I will not cause harm to another (which is one reason I am a vegan!). I find it incredibly difficult to envisage how someone like Chris can live with himself and even more impossible to understand how someone can be that way. But on reflection, I think this is a good thing. And if Jason's performance was accurate, then I suspect that Chris has more demons to deal with than any of us could imagine.

In conclusion, I believe this to be Jason's finest moment. Of course, I already knew him to be a marvellous actor but Chris puts him right up there with the cream of the crop. There are so few actors that can make a character 100% convincing - Jason is a rare bird indeed.

User avatar
Hilary the Touched
Site Registrant
Posts: 6966
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2005 2:11 pm
Location: The Frozen North
Contact:

Post by Hilary the Touched » Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:22 pm

First, Bellatrix, let me express my horror, my sorrow, and my regret at your dreadful story. I can't even begin to imagine how this suffering has affected your life--but I think you are incredibly strong for being able to so completely renounce all that you were shown.
It's easiest to just repeat what you know, and at an even more basic level, it becomes what your brain is chemically accustomed to working with: I remember reading that, for a number of people who work in emergency response situations, the level of stress is almost comfortable for them, because their upbringing has taught them to function with high levels of adrenaline, endorphins etc. :-(

I think one reason we found Chris so compelling was that he wasn't just the horrible ugly careless thoughtless thug though--JI (and obviously the director/writer) gave us so much more to think about. Chris was really conflicted about his past: he understood that he had been harmed by the kinds of things he'd inflicted on others, and by extension, they were suffering too. I thought the sudden revelation of empathy was amazing--I guess my inclination would have been to write Chris off as a no-hoper. So...had he always felt this kind of empathy, but successfully repressed it, or was the ability to feel it something new?

And every time I watch some drama about crime, it's reinforced for me how much you are excluded when you participate in illegal activity--you really isolate yourself, because you can't, if you are endangered, ask for help without incriminating yourself; likewise, every interaction with another criminal makes you more vulnerable to their power to betray you. And at some point it becomes very hard to, on a strictly practical level, reintegrate yourself into "straight" society.

At a biological, "lizard-brained" level, the ability to do what Chris had done was a strength. We like to think of ourselves as having risen above our biological forebears, as being creatures of intellect rather than instinct and chemical impulse, but like it or not, those aspects are still within us, and there were rewards for Chris' capacity for violence.

Again, a really fascinating and compelling performance.

User avatar
Bellatrix
Posts: 106
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2006 4:23 am
Location: Northampton, UK

Post by Bellatrix » Tue Feb 06, 2007 3:55 pm

Hilary the Touched wrote:First, Bellatrix, let me express my horror, my sorrow, and my regret at your dreadful story. I can't even begin to imagine how this suffering has affected your life--but I think you are incredibly strong for being able to so completely renounce all that you were shown.
Thank you for your kind words. I don't know that I am strong - just incredibly stubborn! It took me a lot of years to come to terms with what had happened; in some ways it was easier being in the thick of it because it was all I had ever known. However, at 15, I left home (I lied about my age to get a job - 'off the cards' - and rent a bedsit) and that's when I began to think about what had happened. Eventually I came to the conclusion that there was no reason for me to feel guilt, blame or any of the other myriad feelings we as human beings go through when dealing with such things.

All that was a long, long time ago and I have no desire to be chained to any emotional baggage. Jacob Marley I'm not!
It's easiest to just repeat what you know, and at an even more basic level, it becomes what your brain is chemically accustomed to working with: I remember reading that, for a number of people who work in emergency response situations, the level of stress is almost comfortable for them, because their upbringing has taught them to function with high levels of adrenaline, endorphins etc. :-(
Oh yes, I have known people that thrive on stress. In some cases it's yielded positive results - they've been excellent business people - but in others it's been awful (arguments with partners and family etc). Me, I like a quiet life!
I think one reason we found Chris so compelling was that he wasn't just the horrible ugly careless thoughtless thug though--JI (and obviously the director/writer) gave us so much more to think about.
I suspect that a lesser team couldn't have pulled it off. As I said before, Chris for me, was a vile creature but Jason brought something to the role that made me want to keep watching and learning. I can honestly say it has nothing to do with Jason being attractive because I actually forgot it was he and was repulsed by the character. Therefore it must have been something else that set him apart.
Chris was really conflicted about his past: he understood that he had been harmed by the kinds of things he'd inflicted on others, and by extension, they were suffering too. I thought the sudden revelation of empathy was amazing--I guess my inclination would have been to write Chris off as a no-hoper.
Agreed. I'd like to have done, TBH. 99 times out of 100 I am prepared to see the good in people and can usually take a sideways step to see their POV. My instinct was to immediately write Chris off and not even give him the benefit of my attention. However.....
So...had he always felt this kind of empathy, but successfully repressed it, or was the ability to feel it something new?
I don't know if even he could answer that truthfully. If the former then that makes him even worse, no? If the latter, then did he have an epiphany of sorts? And if he did, what?

I find it interesting that very often violent people calm down when they find love. Whether it is through a partner or their children, it does happen. This would seem to suggest that they had never known such a thing before. But I'm sure I remember Chris mentioning that his childhood hadn't been violent or devoid of caring. I could be wrong - it was a while ago I saw it and I don't have it on DVD.
And every time I watch some drama about crime, it's reinforced for me how much you are excluded when you participate in illegal activity-
Oh, absolutely. Always looking over your shoulder, never knowing who you can trust. I find it difficult to have much sympathy for people like that though. But.....I also realise that things are rarely black and white and for some people, there actually isn't much choice.
-you really isolate yourself, because you can't, if you are endangered, ask for help without incriminating yourself; likewise, every interaction with another criminal makes you more vulnerable to their power to betray you. And at some point it becomes very hard to, on a strictly practical level, reintegrate yourself into "straight" society.
Have you seen The Departed? Ordinarily I am not a fan of such films but my partner persuaded me to go and I agreed because I was determined to prove to him that Leonardo is in fact, an excellent actor! But oh my, what a violent film. So well made though. And perfectly illustrated the very points you have just brought up, Hilary. At that level, you are completely entangled in a web of deceit and betrayal, with little way of knowing who you can trust. And if you do find someone you can trust, how much will it take for their loyalty to be bought?

I am so thankful I have a quiet and ordinary life!
At a biological, "lizard-brained" level, the ability to do what Chris had done was a strength.
A survival technique, certainly.
We like to think of ourselves as having risen above our biological forebears, as being creatures of intellect rather than instinct and chemical impulse, but like it or not, those aspects are still within us, and there were rewards for Chris' capacity for violence.
Of course they are and I do actually think that a lot of trouble comes when one tries to deny and repress the true self. I have absolutely no doubt that if the situation demanded it, I could kill another if it meant my survival. The fact that I have made a conscious decision not to cause harm does not mean I am denial of my capabilities.

It's like this classic moral dilemma:

You are in a foreign country that is ruled over by a corrupt and military régime. One day you are stopped in your car by armed soldiers, dragged out and made to stand in front of 20 shackled people. You are told that if you kill one of them, the other 19 will be set free. What do you do?

My moralistic side says I'd stick to my principles and tell the soldiers they'd have to kill me, for I will not harm another. However, I know that intellectually, this wouldn't happen. I'd take the gun and ask for a volunteer. If none was forthcoming then I'd have to make a decision based upon life expectancy and social value.

It's an absolutely awful thing to have to do but I do honestly believe that I would be able to shut down any empathy I might feel and 'get on with it'. Obviously I'd have to live with the guilt for the rest of my life.

For the Chrisses of this world, I suspect similar processes may be at work, although they are probably instinctive and not intellectually based (I'm not saying they lack intelligence, BTW).
Again, a really fascinating and compelling performance.
Yes - and how excellent to be able to discuss it like this too! :D

User avatar
Gillian
Site Admin
Posts: 4407
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:00 pm

Post by Gillian » Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:46 pm

I can't believe you had to endure such horrid circumstances, Bella! Your courage and determination are truly inspiring!

Congratulations on breaking the cycle!

User avatar
Bellatrix
Posts: 106
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2006 4:23 am
Location: Northampton, UK

Post by Bellatrix » Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:44 pm

Oh shush - you're making me blush...look---------> :oops:

:mrgreen:

missus amber
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 11:23 am
Location: United Kingdom

Post by missus amber » Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:14 am

this is an inceredibly candid film, I wouldn't say watch it if you are faint of heart...It deals with the very real fact of knowing that there are actually people like this in the world... Mr. Issacs portrayal is hauntingly realistic...
Deffinately one of those films that sticks with you for a long time...
I think it was a very brave thing to do to be able to take on a role like this.
Sometimes though, people just need to wake up to the fact that there are others like this out there...
and sadly enough you almost end up sympathizing with Chris...
Human beings can be frightening creatures...
Most deffinately worth a watch... if not a little too thought provoking...

In response to other comments... I think that almost all people have had troubles in their past they would like to leave behind them...
The best thing to do is to learn from those bad situations and turn it into something positive...I know it's hard to forget certain things.. but moving forward and changing for the better is always a good thing...

Right, now I'm just rambling...

User avatar
a.p.k.
Posts: 407
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:23 pm

Post by a.p.k. » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:09 am

Old thread, but I've never seen it and wish I could.

Anyone have any idea how to find a copy of this? I've looked at the local Blockbuster and Tower (yes, there is Blockbuster Video and Tower Video in Israel) and anywhere else I could think of, but ... not there.

Any suggestions, I'll take.







Bellatrix <<<hugs>>> ... it's hard to break the cycle, but it's doable.

My husband grew up in a frighteningly similar situation to yours. On a bad day, he told our oldest when he was only six, that he was lucky because when DH was six, his father broke a broomstick over his back, and he (DS) hasn't had that, has he, lucky kid. :( Like I said, it was a bad day.

Every day is a struggle for him to parent in a way that should be natural, but to him is something he only saw in the movies or at other people's homes.

Meditation helps him. A lot.





Sending you light & strength, Bella ...

warriorprincess
Posts: 229
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 3:25 pm

Post by warriorprincess » Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:50 am

I found the film very poignant...........Jason did a brillient job of portraying the character of Chris.

Unfortunateley there are a lot of people like this in the world. I have met a few in my line of work!


Love Kathleen

Angel Tavington
Posts: 4968
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:01 pm
Location: Col. Tavington's tent
Contact:

Post by Angel Tavington » Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:16 am

I found this documentary hard to watch, very impressive (but Jason did a nice job) And to think, there are people like this in the world. It really scares me.




~me

Post Reply