The Dark Tower – A world without women

Contains spoilers.

I was apprehensive about seeing The Dark Tower this week. The trailer showed lots of men, violence and gun worship. And the critics had given it a dismal 16% on Rotten Tomatoes.

But the film itself wasn’t that bad. It had a story, it wasn’t offensive, it had some peril and adventure. So far so good.

Dark Tower book coversThe film is based on a series of books by Stephen King. All of the main characters (in the film at least) are male and only one female character contributed to the story in a meaningful way. Her role was to interpret the protagonist Jake’s visions and teach him something about his ‘shine’ or gifts. She got killed soon after.

Unlike Valerian it didn’t do terribly with showing women on screen. There were a few passing shots with female characters doing things and each people-group had one or two women.

But as with so many films any number of characters could have been made into women and it would have made for a richer and more diverse story.

A female gunslinger?
A female homeless ex-shine-child?
A female gun shop owner?
A female villain?

Perhaps it’s this strange rule a lot of directors seem to have that it’s ok to adapt source material but the gender of the characters is sacred and should not be touched.
(Yes I know some films do change character gender. Don’t start pointing them all out)

I did like the racial diversity though. A notable amount of both main actors and minor roles represented a variety of different ethnicities.

Dark tower face of father

It bugged me that this ode to patriarchy was repeated about a thousand times;

“Remember the face of your father”

I was sick of this phrase about the third time I heard it. And it was repeated over and over and over.

It means to remember your ancestors, your lineage and your honour. Telling someone they’ve forgotten the face of their father is an insult.

To have ones father represent all honour, history and sense of self just got annoying.


Trailers: 7 trailers, all for films with male protagonists
Bechdel Test: No.
Although 10 women spoke, none met the parameters for passing the Bechdel test
Group score: 6.4
Entirely unscientific women’s representation score: 3

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