This World, Then the Fireworks Film Details
Overview: In 1950s, two incestuous lovers, a depraved suave journalist and his equally depraved prostitute sister, plan to get rich through seduction and murder. Things complicate when their feeble-minded mother begins to suspect something.
Tagline: Meet Marty and Carol. Two people who are very good at being bad.
Review: Just to point out from the start that I think the key to understanding this movie is that the narrator Marty is unreliable. More on this later! This World Then The Fireworks is an adaptation of a Jim Thompson novella that follows twin sociopaths Marty and Carol and their apparently arbitrary despair-filled lives. I think it is fairly easy to identify with them in some sense, and their feeling that the world in general or America in the 50s specifically, is a pretty unfair place. Because they are both upset that some people go unloved in the world they both marry people that they have selected under the criterion that no-one else would have them. Marty’s wife has elephantiasis, through no fault of her own he points out, and in the normal course of events could not have married. I think certain circumstances that are beyond one’s control often lead to not being able to lead a fulfilled life, and I think that Buddhism is one response to this whilst Marty’s and Carol’s is another. I think it’s one of the great taboos to talk about that your chances of being loved and loving are entirely determined by whether you were brought up in an emotionally stable environment, and whether you are physically attractive, neither of which things you have much control over. It’s taboo because if a happy person accepted that, they couldn’t really feel comfortable in the world. Whilst they seem to have no respect for the laws of society, and no respect for the rights of people that cross them, Carol and Marty definitely have embraced self-sacrificing personal moralities. I think this is the extra zing, the lemon neon shock, that Thompson added to his usual cocktail recipe. Like I say earlier, I think the key to understanding this movie is that the narrator Marty is totally unreliable. As well as being a sociopath, he’s a textbook narcissist. He quits his job because he’s upset that his boss thinks he can understand him, he then states that no-one can understand him and that people who thought they did needed knocking down a peg. Belief that only special people are able to understand you is a symptom of narcissism. Also his claims about his ability as a reporter are entirely self-reported and look suspiciously self-inflated. Despite no experience of politics he thinks he can sort out all of America’s troubles, for example by introducing a tax on bowel movements. He’s also exploitative and lacks empathy. The empathy deficit is demonstrated by his attitude towards his sister at the end of the movie (can’t say any more!), and his family in Chicago. I think the thing that most unsettled me in the movie (despite gratuitously violent scenes) was Marty’s grandiose delusions, which also upsets me in The Killer Inside Me, another Thompson film adaptation. All these things are symptoms of a narcissism that arises out of an abused childhood (he mentions being clubbed a lot as a child as well as many other things), and needing to boost one’s feelings of self-worth as a reaction. His repeated insistence that he’s not had an incestuous relationship with his sister probably also comes off as unreliable. The key part of his false testimony probably comes right at the start of the movie, where he pretty calmly talks about a life-shattering event as if he’s not scarred by it. And yet every symptom of his narcissism and sociopathy correlates with severe trauma in early childhood. There’s always the option so enter into the sociopathy and see Marty and Carol as some sort of trailblazing social pioneers, which is probably why this movie is so popular in France. I’m going for dualism, there’s something in what Marty says about life, and there’s also a lot of nonsense which is born out of his hideous suffering. Due to the presence of fairy-light style diegetic lighting, and the most wonderful filters and period recreations, I’d have to say this is one of my favourite films. It’s also one of the saddest films you could ever see.
Country: United States
Duration: 100 min
Genre: Crime, Drama
Also known as: Twisted Minds,Гори все огнем,Bu dünya ve ötesi,Os Pervertidos,Vidas Enraivecidas,Yhdessä vaaralliset,Tuli hännän alla,ファイヤーワークス,This World, Then the Fireworks,Ohne Gewissen,Liens secrets,Разбит свят