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Eli Roth responds to critics of his Death Wish remake

Eli Roth's remake of DEATH WISH was released just days ago, but it hasn't exactly found a warm reception, with some taking issue with the timing of its release so soon after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. As it seems that there's some form of mass tragedy every other week, I can't imagine when the appropriate timing would be, but I suppose that's an entirely different issue. The original 1974 film was released in an atmosphere of rising crime rates, but found itself facing controversy at the time due to its graphic violence and support of vigilantism. Now, forty years later, DEATH WISH is finding itself facing those same issues once again, so why bother remaking the film for a new generation?

Eli Roth recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the remake, saying that he asked himself the same question in regards to why it needed to be made. "The answer is, for me, so many of the same problems that were plaguing the country — that crime is out of control and police are overwhelmed and there’s no way to stop it — still feel very relevant today," Roth said. "It feels like however far we’ve gone in other areas, we have not progressed in terms of crime." The remake came under fire almost immediately after the release of its first trailer when it was criticized for glorifying gun violence, but Eli Roth said that he hoped the film would open a dialogue about gun violence much in the same way GET OUT got people talking about race and racism.

When people watch a trailer, they’re judging based on two-and-a-half minutes of material, and if it’s Bruce Willis shooting a gun, cut to AC/DC, some people are going to draw that conclusion. What I really try to do more than anything is show it how it really is, and leave it for the audience to decide. One thing I’m very conscious of as a filmmaker in Hollywood is not telling the audience what to think, or how to think, and you can make the same argument about John Wick or Taken. Any action movie you can say is a pro-gun movie. It’s giving a story that allows people to discuss a difficult subject. In the same way Get Out came out, everyone was allowed to discuss race and racism because of the movie.

While he was making the film, Eli Roth said that he wasn't intially intending on making a statement about gun violence, hoping that DEATH WISH would "really [be] about family and protecting your family and what do you do when you can’t get justice for your family? It’s not pro-gun. What I really try to do more than anything is show it how it really is, and leave it for the audience to decide." DEATH WISH is now playing in theaters, so be sure to check out a review from our own JimmyO.

What were your thoughts on the DEATH WISH remake in regards to the gun violence debate?

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