Friday, 10 April 2015

American Translation (3 Stars)

Aurore has an American father and a French mother. She lives in America, but she has accompanied her father to Paris on a business trip. While sitting in a hotel she sees a young French man called Chris and runs away with him. He is a free spirit. He doesn't have a home, he lives in the back of his camping van. He doesn't have a job, he makes money by playing poker. They drive to his home in Lille in the north of France. On the way Aurore discovers that Chris has a dark secret. He picks up gay men and kills them. Because she loves him she doesn't condemn him, she says she wants to help him get over his problem. She even sits and watches one of his murders so that she can understand him better.

Let's stop there. What is the film trying to tell us? People who kill others are somehow victims who need our love and understanding? We find out that Chris was sexually abused by a Catholic priest as a boy, as if that excuses his behaviour. I've never accepted psychobabble like this. If someone kills people he deserves to be punished. If someone kills people repeatedly without remorse he deserves to be punished hard. I am a strong believer in the death penalty. I'm not saying that everyone who murders others should be executed. Other factors need to be considered, in particular does the killer feel remorse for what he did, and is he likely to kill again? There's also the issue that I consider imprisonment, especially long imprisonment, an inhuman form of torture. In some American states life prisoners are confined to their cells for 23 hours a day, never allowed to speak with other prisoners and are only allowed to shower three times a week. That's wrong. If I had the choice I would prefer to be executed. But the only way an execution should be carried out is shortly after the sentence. The Americans get everything wrong. They sentence a person to death, then let him sit in prison for 15 to 30 years waiting for his execution. That's ridiculous. The execution should be carried out within a month of the sentence, as used to be the case when England still had the death penalty.

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