My 15 year old son and I watched the classic Hitchcock film North by Northwest this weekend. We had seen the first few minutes of it on public television a few weeks back and wanted to finish it, so we checked it out of the library.
What I noticed was how amoral and immoral the whole thing was. I could not sympathize with any of the characters. Roger Thornhill was a selfish misogynist throughout, except when he defended Eve against he FBI's immoral use of her. Yet he himself used her for his own pleasure on the train. Maybe one is to see in the fact that they got married in the end as a nod to the idea that in the end they had risen above simple self interest to genuine interest in the other. But the fact that Thornhill had been divorced twice before belies that for me. I really like my movies to have genuine heroes who, though flawed like all human beings, display genuine virtue. Not everyone lives or chooses to live in such a morally ambiguous world. I can't admire Thornhill. Or the professor. Or Eve.
My son said, "Dad, it was a spy movie. Everything is supposed to be ambiguous." Is immorality justified in order to fight the cold war?
If anyone has a different take, please share it in the comments. I went away from it feeling like I needed a bath.