Say hello (and goodbye) to the postclassical: Tony Scott and Domino


Larry Knapp

Larry Knapp holds a Ph.D. in Film Studies from Northwestern University. He is the author of Directed by Clint Eastwood (McFarland, 1996) and the editor of Brian De Palma: Interviews (University Press of Mississippi, 2003) and Ridley Scott: Interviews (University Press of Mississippi, 2005). Recent published work includes an upcoming second edition of Directed by Clint Eastwood and reviews for Film Quarterly and The Historical  Journal of Film, Radio, and Television. 

Larry's next project is a book-length analysis of Mickey Rourke's star iconography and its social implications. Rourke's star text represents the difficulty of maintaining a celebrity persona as a site of resistance in contemporary Hollywood. He embodies the tyranny of plastic surgery and the steroid-induced hard body, the decline of working-class ethnicity and resentment, the criminalization of aggressive masculinity, and many other latent discourses of gender, race, and sexuality. Rourke’s troubled career, particularly his decision to forgo acting for prize fighting in the 1990s, suggests that open, aggressive resistance to the status quo (personified by James Dean's recklessness, Steve McQueen's disinterested gaze, Marlon Brando's quixotic temper, Clint Eastwood's contemptuous sneer, or Al Pacino's hysterical rage) is increasingly harder to achieve without suffering social ridicule or exile. From Rumble Fish to Sin City, Rourke remains a willfully abject figure of excess and self-destruction, a bad object Hollywood has struggled to erase and/or redeem. Rourke's commitment to the Method is a poignant attempt to wage a one-man Fight Club and resist the commodification and electronic mediation of self in a time of virtual existence. Rourke isn't afraid to get dirty or crazy in his masochistic search for the true masculine self.

When not teaching at Oakton Community College or Columbia College Chicago, Larry tries to winnow his Netflix list down to a handful of titles, but it always creeps back up to 40. 

Larry welcomes any feedback at l-knapp@sbcglobal.net.