In an interview with Eurogamer, a defensive “autere” stood by his decision to portray domestic abuse the way he did, going so far as to claim he didn’t even choose the subject – the subject chose him.
“You don’t choose to talk about domestic abuse,” he claimed. “It’s not like I was like ‘oh, let’s write a scene about domestic abuse’. It’s not how it works.”
Cage said he was “working on something important, something meaningful and something moving,” with this particular sequence from Detroit.
The problem with that statement it’s horseshit.
First of all, obviously Cage chose to talk about it. Nobody forced his hand, we wasn’t possessed by the spirit of Polyhymnia. When you write a story, you are making conscious decisions about the story you’re writing, the characters you’re using, and the events that WHY THE FUCK AM I HAVING TO EXPLAIN HOW CHOICES AND ACTIONS ARE RELATED!?
But more to the point of why Cage’s claims of meaning and importance are rubbish…
Detroit‘s portrayal of domestic abuse is clumsy, cringeworthy, and – in typical Cage fashion – poorly written.
My history of living with domestic abuse is well known. Growing up, I saw and heard things a child shouldn’t have to see and hear. Things David Cage, apparently, cannot hope to effectively show an audience.
This shit is not like those melodramatic made-for-TV movies with cartoonish abusers and overtly choreographed violence that borders on action sequences. Such woefully outdated farce, however, is what Detroit gladly indulges in.
At best, the footage we’ve seen of the game just barely matches those aforementioned TV dramas in terms of writing, direction, and acting.
David Cage’s “important, meaningful, moving” work is, in actuality, a caricature of domestic abuse, and far from an original one. It is not powerful in the sense that I found it relatable, distressing, or even provocative. It’s powerful in the sense that it showcases just how ill-equipped Cage is to handle mature subjects.
This is certainly a subject too mature for his creative ability.
Had I been the one interviewing David for Eurogamer, the first question I’d have asked is if he drew from personal experience when writing that scene, or if he simply copied films again.
I cannot claim to know of David Cage’s personal life, but his predilection for copying things he’s seen in movies and mangling them in the process is pretty evident. Perhaps in this case, he is correct when he says he doesn’t choose his subjects – not when he can let Lionsgate make the choices for him.