Tonight I finally watched Dredd, which just hit Netflix. Unsure what to expect, I came to appreciate and a bit admire the editorial tightrope it walked regarding the morality of violence in a world where people aren’t valued. “You know what Mega City One is, Dredd?” asks Judge Lex. “It’s a fucking meat grinder. People go in one end, and meat comes out the other. All we do is turn the handle.” He’s right. It’s what we see when Dredd and Anderson make the initial drug den bust that sets off the chain of events. One addict reaches for a gun and we witness a bullet ripping through his face. He walked into this world a person, and went out meat. Their whole world is like this, people stacked like so much cordwood into gargantuan skyscraper tenement blocks of unemployment and crime, mostly left to entropy and decay. Much of the violence in Dredd is presented as ever-present, unavoidable, and expected, yet I never felt as if the movie was saying we should think that’s okay, the way I feel other movies mostly don’t seem to care either way. It’s simply their world being shown as it is, and it’s of course only an extreme version of our own. It’s a matter of fact. It’s nearly editorially neutral, because the world we’re been shown doesn’t much consider, or recognize, alternatives. And into that walks Judge Dredd and rookie Anderson, ultimately faced with deciding whether or not there’s ever a point even to considering leniency or humanity when dispensing justice as judge, jury, and executioner. Does one decent choice, one deviation from The Law, one moment of seeing people as people — for Judge Dredd, for rookie Anderson, and for us — matter amidst so much inevitable meat?