In many stories, a villain serves as a foil to the protagonist, challenging his/her values and driving the plot forward. The protagonist is often the hero precisely because of how they interact with the villain.
But what happens when the villain is the main character? What happens when the perspective of the story is of someone that we cannot identify with, cannot root for, and cannot emulate? This is the case of the anti-hero.
Although sparse in movies and television, the anti-hero presents an interesting opportunity for the audience. Just as the inspiring figure in aspirational works challenges the audience to seek more by filling them with hope, the anti-hero does so by showing them what will happen if we don’t shape up. Often beginning as relatable and identifiable, the anti-hero progresses throughout a story in the direction they shouldn’t, giving in to their desires and building upon their flaws until they are nothing but a villain, a character that we want nothing to do with.
This week, Br. Tito and I discuss some of cinema’s most iconic anti-heroes and share what we think we can learn from them.