At the 20th anniversary screening of Tom Sizemore’s classic ‘Heat’, Al Pacino revealed that his character moves and speaks like this because Detective Vincent Hanna habitually “Smoking cocaine”. Perhaps because of the pressures of job demands, the once idealistic Serpico turned to Bolivia’s marching powder to fuel his crime-fighting efforts. So that’s why his eyeballs look so determined to break free from his skull. Here’s an illuminating movie trivia that sheds new light on one of Pacino’s most memorable performances, if not the movie.
Why every character in GTA 5 behaves the same way is anyone’s guess. From the central trio to their family, friends, enemies, employers, government workers and unrelated bystanders, everyone in Los Santos acted like a) absolutely connected and b) overcoming pure hatred of humanity.
It is most evident, of course, in Trevor, who introduces himself by stomping a man’s head in the dirt until he dies, then engages in interactive torture, sexually motivated kidnapping and murder in the most frivolous terms – while The passing traffic roars. It’s a satire on how GTA archetypal players behave throughout the series: one-dimensional hell-raisers. However, he also has hours of dialogue, a character arc, and is as central to the GTA 5 story as anyone or anything else.
While Michael and Franklin seem to be slightly less influenced by the Pacino school of acting and/or heavy cocaine intake, Michael is especially prone to middle-aged howling, and neither of them take human life particularly seriously. So here you are, as these three Both seem to think their guys in the heat are walking around, in a city overcrowded, and they’re all trying to talk louder than each other about how horrible the world is.
Over time, this affects the player. After all, it’s a great long-form game where you can put hours and hours in one place, leave it there for a year or two, and do it all over again. In those respects, it’s a masterpiece, and I’m now on my fourth playthrough. But playing it makes you feel kind of dirty — like watching a cannibal carnage or eating a bucket of family specials on a highway service — and there’s no shower to get off of.
I don’t think it’s the killing that caused it. Nor is it the moral bankruptcy of its three player characters, all of whom have shown vulnerability and humanity in their own way over time. In fact, the entire universe is written in the same tone. Every radio DJ’s link, every NPC chirping, every magazine cover and billboard, they’re all saying the same thing: modern life, America, and everyone in it…it all sucks.
Of course, this is a GTA tradition. Since Rockstar took over DMA Design’s controversial top-down carjacking game in 2001 and reimagined it in a 3D open world, Grand Theft Auto 3 and its descendants have been akin to a socially satirical walk-in closet. . How primitive and edgy it feels to occupy an entire city that points out the many vices and flaws of modern society, especially for those of us who were then in impressionable teenage years. In retrospect, this was indeed a clever way to take advantage of the new urban sandbox technology. Rockstar understood better than anyone in the years then and years after that it wasn’t just about peeing in notched cars and evading the police. It’s a way to construct bespoke, twisted visions of the world through multimedia miniatures of radio, commercials, and street chat.
GTA 4 accomplishes this feat most successfully. In this game, you can watch Ricky Gervais stand-up at the Split Sides Comedy Club, or sit in your safe house and watch grotesque imitations of last century culture—alarmist news reports, empty MTV-esque reality shows, Poker Tournaments – On TV. These little touches really add to the feeling that Liberty City is a city full of people and has its own culture. The themes of satire are similar to GTA 3, targeting America’s conservative news media, corrupt politicians, empty celebrities, and our false adoration of it, but it seems to say a little bit more.
We’ve heard this joke before when GTA 5 launched. Isn’t modern life rubbish? That social media, eh? waste time. Where do these celebrities get off? The thing is, all the irony is tied to one of the greatest games in decades, so one can hardly ignore it for the sake of writing. And it’s not badly written by video game standards, it’s so hateful and outdated that it becomes tiresome during one playthrough, let alone several times. (By the way, it’s a good question for a game that not all elements stay the same on the fourth playthrough.)
So when I think about GTA 6, between you and me, there’s really only one thing I ask Rockstar for. This time I just wanted to enjoy being in that virtual place, like I enjoyed walking the Markarth from Solitude to Skyrim, or riding The Witcher 3’s dirt road just for the scenery. After so many hours in Los Santos, I always felt at a distance from it, an unwelcome intruder, with nowhere to go, even for a moment of wholesome respite, or in cynical gathering places find sincerity.
Honestly, this is one item on my GTA 6 wish list. Because everything else is a given, isn’t it? I knew mechanically it would all come together like a NASA robot, and shooting, driving, parkour, flying a plane under a bridge and throwing tennis balls at the dog would all feel perfect. They always do. I know the location of this place will vary wildly. It always does.
But it’s time for Grand Theft Auto to stop parodying the Michael Mann movies and find a new tone. No more gonzo-esque shaky photography in cutscenes. Enough conflict career criminals deal with their life choices. Maybe even join in some conversations that aren’t quite out loud. Maybe radio stations don’t constantly mock every fiber of modern civilization between songs.
The scope of the franchise dictates some things about its main characters – for example, they will commit crimes. But that leaves plenty of room for stories not yet told in the series — Bonnie and Clyde or the love story of Dog Day Afternoon. Or in the grand film tradition of Nothing To Lose (for my money, Tim Robbins’ best), The Fall, or Breaking Bad, the story of a criminal being pulled out of the water. Working from scratch to ill-gotten gains is enjoyable enough, but given the amount of time we’ve all put into the series right now, doing it again certainly won’t have the same impact.
So please don’t be a fringe lord, GTA 6. We’ve all heard about swearing and video game violence by now. You don’t have to be an open-world CBeebies, just aim for your storytelling above the knockoff and shock value of 90’s movies. Find some sincerity in your characters and finally take the series out of the awkward teenage social satire phase it’s been occupying for too long.