Cinema, Cycling, and the Anti Hero

2012-08-22

We love this story. A strong-willed, charismatic, rogue protagonist with an alternative and edgy lifestyle that becomes involved in an ultimate challenge and finally rises to the occasion.

Premium Rush chase scene
Premium Rush chase scene

We love this story when it is told in the context of embellished history, like William Wallace in Braveheart - back when Mel Gibson just seemed mostly harmless and not scarysad.

We love this story when it is told in classic works, musicals, and various movie adaptations, like Valjean in Les Miserables.

It's Vin Diesel in almost every movie he's been in. It's Aeon Flux, Alice in Wonderland, Alice in Resident Evil, Beowulf, Batman, Pac-man (the pill popper), Sanjuro Kuwabatake in Yojimbo, Aragorn.

We are drawn to these faulty characters because they seem more real, more like us. They are flawed in some understandable way, a way we can relate to. These characters are likable despite their human faults, and they become the kind of person you want to win, to bring back order and prove their worth to us, the audience that is now vested in their victory. In this story it becomes the audience that would now be cheated if the bad guys won.

But somehow, the bad guys won't win. Our fractured character, the anti hero, will win and be our champion.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt after crashing through a window on the set of Premium Rush
Joseph Gordon-Levitt after crashing through a window on the set of Premium Rush

Cycling is about to get an new anti hero, and I for one have been wanting and waiting for this to happen.

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