by Madeline Iva
I am completely obsessed with a character/actor from a movie. Why? Because I suspect his character is a virgin.
Call it virgin creep. Have you noticed? Guys get to be virgins now. I should say guys get to be virgins now too. I’m talking Mr. Sparkly you-know-who from Twilight–we won’t name him and draw out all the haters.
I’m talking Jamie in Outlander.
I’m talking – well, as it turns out I’m talking about my good friend Joanna Bourne’s latest character Pax in Rogue Spy. (We’re shared a release week birthday with her last week.)
Let’s not forget Tristan in the movie Stardust. (He represents a kind of cross-roads virgin – one who straddles old, horrible stereotypes with a new sensibility about male virginity.)
Virgins one and all. Virgins who, unlike in the past, aren’t ashamed of it. They choose it. They wait and wait for The One.
It used to be that any shamed virgin male youths were meant to be corrupted ASAP by some older seductress female – preferably from the raunchy side of the tracks. Not anymore! These virgin men I listed above find their mate. One who is eager for sex/more experienced at sex. One who is NOT from the raunchy side of life. Not one little bit.
So the whole virgin thing is shifting for men. Good I say!
OH HEY, BTW: We’re having a party tonight on fb to celebrate our anthology release. Want to come? Click HERE and join the fun. Also, click HERE to see some of the fab books we’re giving away before the party starts.
Okay…back to my movie obsession. The movie is A MOST WANTED MAN.
They don’t talk about the virginity thing in the movie—and probably not in the book either. It’s all in the context.
The character is named Issa. He is Chechen. He enters Germany illegally, and he’s all bearded, dirty, and wild. Then we see him a little cleaner in a domestic setting and learn a bit more about him. He’s been in prison – two prisons in fact. One in Russia and the other in Turkey.
He’s a terrorist. Or maybe not. When he was interrogated by the Russians he confessed to being a terrorist. As someone in the movie suggests—while that could be true, it could also be the case that they tortured him until he would say whatever they wanted. After all, he’s from Chechnya, and that place is messed up.
So his status in our minds is a little dubious at the beginning. But then the movie goes on to show us a little more. He’s thin, starving, and scarred from beatings—he does not meet anyone’s eye. Which is hard, because the actor is so tall, but he manages. The movie goes on to show him as victimized (his mother was raped by his father) and devout in his religion. By the time the movie is half over, we think he’s a good guy because he’s so inoffensive, and…cute. It’s more a matter of him being sinned against rather than sinning.
And here’s the rub. He has to shave his beard because they’re going to try to hide him. Now he’s even cuter. He has to be alone with a woman because she’s his lawyer. She’s Rachel McAdams and therefore delectable, and inevitably—though it’s never talked about—her proximity takes a toll on him as he ends up seeing only her and relying upon her for everything–food and shelter and safety.
There’s this killer point in the movie where he’s talking to her and the hidden feelings and physical sensations just end up swamping him. He’s over on her side of the table suddenly, he’s physically tumbling almost right onto her, almost hugging her. His body is trembling.
At this point in 9 out of 10 films, they’d just do it. In this film, he manages to pick himself up and move away out of reach. She does nothing, remaining neutral, because clearly he is losing an inner struggle that he doesn’t want to lose.
And that’s where we end up seeing him as a good guy. He practices humility, moderation, and sincerity. He is good, he is devout. He is trying to stay true to the path of God, striving for purity after such unpure beginnings. Yet it makes one ache too, because he is so alone – his religion does not even permit a hug.
In the end, he gives Rachel McAdams a little gold necklace with a little charm – presumably of the Koran. No words, just the gift.
I’m probably reading waaaaaay to much into this whole movie, but the way he behaved around her was Virgin guy 101 if you ask me. (Also, I’m telling you almost all the plot involving him—there’s not much more to it, so if you actually see the movie and come away feeling short-changed, don’t blame me.)
The plot line between Rachel McAdams and Issa is a minimalist jewel. There are a thousand ways in which it would never work out. These are never discussed, just like the inevitable attraction he has for her is never discussed.
In not responding to his physical breakdown she shows her own purity—purity of motive. She is—as the historical authors like to say—‘wholly disinterested’. Her character wants to help him—and that is all. It’s not because she has fallen in love with him. She in no way seeks to profit for herself by assisting him.
It could never work is the big upshot here. Even though they’re both. Trying. Just to be. Good. People. (OH, the humanity!)
No, this is not a romance. Not at all. And this underscores the whole movie which is a spy movie, yes, but also a kind of metaphysical gang rape of the master spy guy (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman RIP). This is typical of every John Le Carre film: modest spy hero f***ed over by untrustworthy big government types.
In the end I had pinwheels in my eyes for the actor playing Issa. His name is Grigoriy Dobrygin, he’s Russian, and I want to see him in more movies. Like NOW.
Okay, enough about me. What about you? Have you followed us at Lady Smut?
Are you joining our par-tay tonight? We’ll try to keep the semi-nude pictures of hot men down to a minimum.
No—I’m kidding, we won’t do that at all. ; >