That's right, Keanu Reeves is a psychopath as the character, Scott Favor, in Gus Van Sant's film, My Own Private Idaho. More on this in a bit. But first...
What do they call it when you view a movie again, many years later, and see it in a different light? Answer... proof that we can and do change. Our attitudes, perceptions, and values change over time. And this is a good thing. New information and evidence should have us reevaluating our positions. If not, what is the point of learning and growing as human beings? Of course, some of us learn to satisfy a craving. We are information junkies. We don't just crave information in order to grown and learn. We regard learning as intrinsically valuable and not just a means to an end.
I'll get to more on the concept, means to an end, in just a bit.
I watched My Own Private Idaho again, the other night. And it was truly like watching it for the first time. It felt like a new film. I don't remember feeling this
way about it the first time around—back in 1991.
It was so much better on this second viewing. I noticed how brilliant the cinematography, music, and direction are. I obviously have learned over time to notice such things. I have become an educated cinephile of sorts in these last twenty years, between viewings. I'm not just focused on plot and dialogue and character. Though these things are still important elements in film, of course. But I have a new awareness—a heightened sensitivity which has been fine-tuned over time.
Maybe, not surprisingly, I also viewed the characters in a different light—particularly Scott (Scottie) Favor. He now seems like a classic psychopath. Mike, Bob, and anyone else who crosses his path, are props in his play—means to an end. I probably failed to see this the first time around for two reasons. First, I was blinded by my lust for Keanu the man. Let's call it what it is—cult of personality syndrome. And secondly, I failed to see Scott's true nature due to my ignorance about psychopathology. I was first introduced to psychopathology in 1991—same year MOPI was released—via the book and film The Silence of the Lambs. And as brilliant as the character Hannibal Lecter is, he is NOT your typical psychopath. He sits at the far end of the spectrum—an extreme case, if you will. The typical psychopath is NOT a serial killer... or even a criminal. One percent of the population are psychopaths. And only twenty percent of the incarcerated are. No, you see, the common psychopath walks and lives amongst us.
Make no mistake, Scott Favor is a psychopath. He is charming, charismatic, fearless, intelligent, and manipulative... and cold as ice. His strained relationship with his father is not Dad's fault, but rather, the son's. He was born this way. Scottie is a user. He uses everyone he can in order to propel himself to where he wants to end up—at the top. People are just stepping stones. Even Carmella—his beautiful, elegant, and poised girlfriend—is just a prop in his carefully orchestrated plot. This scene towards the end of the film showcases this perfectly...
WATCH: Scene is at 8:37 - 12:27
Does seeing Keanu in this new light—as a psychopath—make me love him less? Hell no. I love him even more. Bring on the bad boys—the very, very bad boys! Kidding. Or am I?
Gus Van Sant—a brilliant auteur. With the inclusion of My Own Private Idaho, these are some of his films that I recommend...
Drugstore Cowboy (my favorite GVS film)
To Die For
Good Will Hunting