I’ve been doing some reading about genre, right, for two essays that I should be writing at this very moment, that will pop round and soundly kick my ass later in the week.
Firstly, genre is a fairly fluid thing. I mention this only because after reading so much I don’t want to give the nerdly overlords of the interwebs the idea that I think genre is really easily summupable. Early genre theorists would have us believe that there is a like, five or six definite genres, and the lines between them are clear and the point of them is either to help audiences clarify their expectations, help advertisers and such promote shows and films appropriately or to help establish the quality of a certain text, as compared to others of its genre. But the idea of genre is reasonably complicated.
That isn’t exactly what I wanted to talk about, but reading this article about how genre can be obvious from any number of things, setting, characterisation, casting, plot etc gave me an idea. It mentioned the hero in the Western. He (sorry for the gender crap, but that’s how it goes) is traditionally removed from the society he unwillingly exists in, but at some point fights to save this society, then rides off into the sunset* because he is forever at odds with the man, or the establishment. Or prairie living or some such.
And I realised that Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino is EXACTLY THAT HERO. Which, I think, is a nice little remix on the traditional western.
*the article mentioned death as another possible scenario here, the main point being that the hero is removed from the scene.