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If I Had a Hammer, I'd Hammer Stephen Hunter

Old BoyCourtesy of Tartan Films

On Friday, film critic Stephen Hunter lazily explored the idea that Cho Seung-hui may (or may not!) have gleaned some inspiration for his hammer-wielding self-portrait from the South Korean film Old Boy. Today he gets served by Tony Scott in the New York Times, who writes that “Mr. Hunter has no peer when it comes to wielding the conditional tense on deadline.” (Ouch!) Scott specifically criticizes Hunter’s evidence-free linking of the killer to John Woo (instead of, say, to violent white directors like the Wachowskis). It’s a fairly devastating dissection, but Scott misses the knockout punch: He fails to mention that Hunter has a lethal imagination himself.

Pulitzer Prize winner Hunter moonlights as a pulp-fiction novelist whose most popular books depict the lethal doings of a Vietnam vet and sniper. Hunter said that Woo's movies "celebrated violence even as they aesthetized it” — but what about his own books, with titles like Time to Hunt? Better yet, how about the recent, very violent Mark Wahlberg movie Shooter, an adaptation of Hunter's most popular series? Barring any evidence, isn’t it just as likely that Hunter's books inspired the Virginia Tech massacre?

Speaking of hammers, the critic's most popular character is a Vietnam vet named — no joke — Bob Swagger. His nickname? “The Nailer.” —Logan Hill

Cinematic Clues to Understand the Slaughter [WP]
Drawing a Line From Movie to Murder [NYT]