Revolver Discussion


Revolver, the movie by Guy Ritchie, is supposed to be a metaphor for someone freeing themselves from their egos. Just what the heck that means will be discussed here. This page contains lots of spoilers, so if you don't want to have the movie spoiled for you...quit reading NOW!

Apparently, the ego is a bad thing in the eyes of Guy Ritchie. Why? I dunno.

According to Freud, a personality is made up of three parts. There's the ego, the id, and the super-ego. The ego is the mediator between the id, which only wants immediate gratification and lacks any sense of consequence while the super-ego, which is the rules follower that strives for perfection, tries to make itself heard. Without an ego, which is the source of rational decision making, there is chaos. So why should the ego be destroyed the way Guy Ritchie wants?

There are some characters in Revolver that fit in with Freud's view of personality. You've got Mr. Gold, who is the mysterious ego. You never meet him as a character. He is the voice that Mr. Green keeps hearing in the movie, however. And there is one scene in an elevator where Mr. Green and his ego battle it out. So, in that sense I guess Mr. Gold makes an appearance.

Then there's Avi, the chess player, who maps to the super-ego which is a rules follower. Also there's Zach, the id, who is the con man which is the id. The id is always trying to get the ego to do things that the id wants to do. The ego gets its input from the id, consults with the super-ego, and decides what can and what should be done. It keeps the id in check.

In this movie, Mr. Green is a fourth part. He wants to re-invent his ego. Avi and Zach are in control, which doesn't match the Freudian model. Avi and Zach are working together, which also doesn't match the model. The two should be at odds with each other. Avi should never lie or deceive, but he does. Once with the doctor's report and another time when he tells Mr. Green to shoot someone with an empty gun.

It has been proposed that it was during Mr. Green's time in prison that the events in the movie took place. In other words, the whole thing is a fantasy and Mr. Green has one heck of an imagination. According to this interpretation, Mr. Green realizes that he's a bad guy who makes bad choices. Bad choices are the domain of the ego. So, he destroys his ego and keeps going without one.

You can't do that! You can modify your ego by simply believing, "Well, I won't do THAT again!" For some reason, this becomes impossible for Mr. Green and he has to invent an elaborate fiction to rethink his responses to things.

It's silly.

But it's not as silly as the depths Guy Ritchie goes to in order to mask an early discovery of intent by the audience. Mr. Green talks about the people he knew in prison. One in each cell on either side of his. They're even shown in a flashback. You think, "These two are Avi and Zach!" But, Guy Ritchie shows two different actors playing the parts of the prison mates. So you think, "Nice try but it can't be them." In the end, though, it is them. And they didn't even exist. They're just manifestations of the id and super-ego invented by Mr. Green.

And who is Macha? Is he another side of Mr. Green? With a first name of Dorothy, what is Macha supposed to be? The female side of Mr. Green? An externalization of the things Mr. Green hates about himself? A real enemy? A necessary character so that Mr. Green can walk the road of redemption?

Guy Ritchie would have us believe that there is something preventing us from being enlightened and that something is the ego. The problem is that without an ego, we do not exist as persons.

You cannot have an id and a super-ego without an ego. People with a stunted ego are called sociopaths. They have no governing function because there is no communication with the super-ego. This is what Guy Ritchie has the main character striving for? Balderdash, I say. Balderdash!

So what could this fourth part be? Maybe it's Jung's subconscious? Do you know what Jung has to say about people with a direct tap-in to their subconscious? He says that these people have such an insight to things that they think they're right all of the time. The subconscious is very smart. But it's not infallible. Tyrants have this tap-in to the subconscious. Stalin and Hitler are two examples. So are Joan of Arc and Buddah so it's not always a bad thing. But, that would depend on the ego and the development of the super-ego. Without an ego you're the next self-indulgent tyrant.

Jung will tell you that people tapped-in to their subconscious consider themselves enlightened. He'll also tell you that they're not. All they are is potentially dangerous.

So between the fantasy world where contradictory events occur and some new way of expanding on Freud, the movie is pretentious. Guy Ritchie needs to give more freedom to his super-ego so that his id doesn't get to indulge itself so often.


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