Nick Cave Says Violent Movies Beget Violence

Nick Cave believes film and television violence is responsible for inspiring real life acts of violence such as the horrific shootings which claimed twelve lives at the Dark Knight Rises screening in Aurora, Colorado last month.

Speaking with The LA Times about writing the screenplay for forthcoming action-drama Lawless, the writer/musician said that discounting a film’s power to inspire both good and evil in an audience was irresponsible. “If beautiful movies can influence you to go out and hug your children, then we have to be honest and say that other movies can inspire you to do bad things,” he said. “To say they can’t is to deny all movies their power.”

While the onus for anti-social behaviour should always be on the individual, Cave also blamed US gun laws and their long history of violence.

“Guns are part of the American psyche, aren’t they?” he said. “This is collateral damage for having a Wild West mentality. It’s intrinsic to the American psyche. It’s never going to change.”

Lawless, directed by longtime visual collaborator John Hillcoat (The Road, The Proposition), is about a prohibition era power struggle between corrupt federal agents and outlaw bootleggers and includes multiple scenes of violence, something which Cave, who released the homicide-inspired LP Murder Ballads in 1996, did not treat lightly. “What we tried to do was show the consequences of the violence,” he said. “Not every movie does that.”