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Going Too Far Fighting Crime In ‘Dredd’

As a new Judge Dredd convert, and a big fan of innovative action movies, I’m actually starting to get excited about Karl Urban-starring Dredd even though the production’s hit some difficulties. What really got my juices going was the news that Olivia Thirlby’s going to be playing Judge Anderson, which I would guess mean that the Big Bad in the movie is going to be Judge Death and the Dark Judges, who hate crime so much they’ve decided the best way to stop it is to wipe out all life in the universe. Now, there’s no question that the Judges are totalitarian, but I kind of appreciate the idea that the movie will show what the end consequence of a policy aimed at getting crime to zero.

I also appreciate that apparently, Judge Dredd and Judge Anderson will work together, but won’t kiss, staying faithful to a narrative in which the big emotional reveal is that Judge Dredd considers Judge Anderson his friend. That’s a welcome diversion from the standard stressful situation=smooches narrative, and it’d be nice to have a story where men and women actually get to focus on building their professional relationship and friendship rather than figuring out when they’re going to get down. Of course wartime romances are a thing But if you’re going to really go in on building the world the Judges live in, it makes sense that the standard emotional narratives that operate in that realm would be different. And cutting the Judges off from a range of human experiences emphasizes both the unnaturalness of what they’re being asked to do and their distance from the people they pass judgment on.

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