Once upon a time in America: Noodles was a pacifist?

May 27, 2006 at 3:39 pm (Films)

I recently watched the film again – a real masterpiece by Sergio Leone with Robert de Niro acting very well!

But then i read something in a lexicon about Noodles (Robert de Niro) and Max (James Woods) being antipodes. Max was called a materialistic and calculating delinquent while loyalty and and friendship were more important for Noodles. He is supposed to be the “romantic type of gangster” who doesn’t utilize violence systematically. Violence was rather a sign of desperate helplesness. The author goes on presenting us evidence for this hypothesis. He calls raping Deborah a pained cry for help due to the fact that Noodles couldn’t hold his only love.

I have to disagree with those assumptions (though he’s right about Max). Noodles is not romantic at all but merely possesses another point of view than Max does. Noodles is in fact much more pragmatic than Max is. Remember the scene after they killed Joe (the guy they stole the diamonds for) and Noodles makes his point clear: Frankie Minaldi (Joe Pesci) told them to kill Joe but next time he may tell Noodles to kill Max.
So Noodles sees through the mechanisms of this business. There’s no proof for Noodles being a pacifist. But he is rather more calculating than Max and doesn’t trust in Frankie Minaldi (and who would trust this guy). Max gave the answer to Noodles’ problem (the scene in the hospital with James Conway O’Donnell (played by Treat Williams) from the trade union) and the answer is that Noodles never really grew up and attached to the changed circumstances which is quite clear considering him being incarcerated for such a long time. This is not always a disadvantage as you can see.

Noodles is far from being nice guy. And he is even the most brutal one from all of them. You see him killing four people and raping two women.
The first rape occurs during the diamond robbery where Noodles rapes Carol (Tuesday Weld) who then procedes to become Max’s girlfriend. I’m not sure what to make of this scene. When she encounters the four gansters later she merely seems to dislike Noodles repulsing him due to the fact that he already had the “pleasure”. I think it became clear to the audience that the “sexual intercourse” was not consensual and therefore rape. I think it would be interesting to hear other opinions on this rape scene.
The second rape scene where Noodles rapes Deborah in the car is of much more significance for the storyline. You can interpret it the way the author of the article from the lexicon did but i think that this was merely an excuse and a try to make the movie’s storyline fit his assumption. While Noodles was attracted to her and vice versa she obviously never wanted to make out with him or go further in any way. Noodles loved her so he tried to please her and came up with the tacky candlelight dinner but without success. Then she wanted to go away, move to Hollywood and leave him – Noodles. Now he had waited so long but still was rejected. So he goes on “teaching her a lesson”. Cause Noodles gets what he wants: The silver watch, Peggy, Bugsy’s death, business without having a boss (though it’s not quite clear. Frankie Minaldi visits James Conway in the hospital but all the other scenes have been left out) and even the 1 million dollar (though he payed a high price). I even remember him saying something about forcing Deborah after she rejected him again (during their childhood).
So i think that the author’s theory was refuted. It’s not that kind of a superficial dichotomy and Noodles first rape was everything but a cry for help.


Permalink Leave a Comment

Sex-for-asylum Scandal: Exploitation of a rape victim

May 21, 2006 at 1:27 pm (Crime)

The Guardian has an article about chief immigration officer James Dawute (53) hassling the rape victim Tanya (18) from Zimbabwe for about two weeks. She seeks asylum and he wanted to help her with her application if she had sex with him. There are also two videos from their meeting (14.1 Mb each).

Dawute, who was suspended yesterday: 'She's a vulnerable rape victim,' Dawute said. 'I wouldn't want to have sex with her. I'm the father of four kids.'

Permalink Leave a Comment