Are you capable of murder? Probably, it seems…

3년 전

I know that you think you aren’t. Me neither. I am no saint, but, as a rule, I don’t tend to kill people. Generally speaking, killing people is bad, and anyway, I am far too pretty to go to prison. I am sure the same could be said for you; I hear that you are gorgeous and hardly ever do the murdering thing.   

                                   

Trailer here.

I ask this peculiar question because I had the dubious pleasure of watching Derren Brown’s “The Push” on Netflix last night.   

I have been a fan of Derren Brown for years. I have seen him on stage three times and have read all his books. I even went to an audition for one of his shows. Unfortunately for me, I am not very hypnotisable, and the complicated trip to London was a complete waste of time. If you are not from the UK, it is unlikely that you will have heard of him. Even in the UK, he is far from a famous celebrity, and I am sure he quite likes it that way.  

                                      

Source

He calls himself a “psychological illusionist” or occasionally “magician”, but he makes it clear that his trickery is nothing more than sleight of mind. He is a genius. Or quite possibly in league with Satan. His ability to manipulate and “read” people is truly a sight to behold. The first time I saw him, my friends and I concluded that the only reasonable explanation to his incredible stage act was that everyone in the theatre was a stooge, apart from us. He is that good.  

I need to mention that there are spoilers for the TV show “The Push” ahead!   

In “The Push” he identified an entirely unknowing member of the public (a man called Chris Kingston) as his latest victim, and proceeded to take him on an elaborate and choreographed adventure that sent the poor man to the brink of madness. At times, it was truly painful to watch, and you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t question the ethical boundaries that Brown pushes.   

Chris was, as a part of his business interactions, invited to an auction for a new children’s Charity called “Push”, backed by countless videos endorsements from A-list celebrities, all in on the ruse. Absolutely every single person that Chris had any contact with that evening was an actor. The cast of 50+ people had rehearsed the evening for weeks. Cameras were everywhere, and Brown had direct earpiece contact with the major players.

Soon into the evening, the sponsor of the event (“Bernie” – a clue for film fans!) appears to have a heart attack and die. What follows is a carefully choreographed melodrama that sees the increasingly distressed Kingston being convinced into being utterly complicit in covering up Bernie’s death, hiding the body, moving the body, pretending to be the dead man in front of an entire roomful of strangers… 

                                   

An update on Chris Kingston

The story lurches from one disaster to another, and the poor victim gets pulled further and further into a series of unfortunate and blatantly illegal actions. 

It culminates with Kingston being on a roof terrace with a bunch of influential strangers trying to convince him to push Bernie (now back from the dead) to his death in order to save the charity and Chris from a prison sentence. 

He – mercifully – refuses, and says he will go to prison, before storming off, into the arms of Derren Brown who finally lets him know that the entire evening has been an elaborate set up. He had been manipulated into committing a series of crimes, but killing a man was step too far. 

It appears that Brown’s attempt to demonstrate that a member of the public can be manipulated into committing the ultimate crime had failed. However… 

They had repeated the exercise another three times, with three other carefully selected (and unknowing) members of the public. And in all three instances, they had pushed Bernie from the roof, seemingly to his death. 

They were all, ordinary, decent people, who, when placed under extraordinary pressure were manipulated into “killing” a complete stranger. I know! It all sounds ridiculously implausible, and you would never find yourself in such a position…   

If I have piqued your interest, then I highly recommend you invest an hour in the programme. It will make you realise how we are at the mercy of life’s outrageous fortune, and how any of us could behave in a way that we wouldn’t dream of in a given set of circumstances. 

We are not what we think we are, and Derren Brown has made a career out of proving this, and he has a huge body of work for you to catch up on if you like what you see. You're in for a trick treat!

                               

                                   

                                  

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Mat I so have to watch this.I remember many many years ago Derren Brown performed a seance, where an apparent suicide pact was made and a young lady killed herself.It was a televised seance on channel 4, more or likely you watched it as your a fan.He told the audience to partake in a ouiji style game.I actually did it.Made an alphabet, yes, no and numbers 0-9.At the beginning he told us a number of individualss who it could be.I partook in the questions he asked and my ouija actually came up with the girls name who killed herself.It freaked me out as my lights were flickering at home.At the end we discovered the whole Pact was fake.No one killed themselves.The girl who they claimed committed suicide was in fact alive and well.It is alot to do with powers if persuasion and tricking the mind.I honestly do not know how he does it.I havent seen much of him in recent years so will defo be a good watch.👍🏼

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I think what is so scary about his work is that he shows how easily we can be manipulated, and what simple creatures we are. This programme is a great example, although I think that personality types are very important. He very carefully selects his victims!

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That is so true.Personality type defo plays a big part in the outcome of the scenirio.It is very scary how easily influenced people are.He is showing examples on a small scale.Could you imagine this on a big scale.Mass audiences.To be honest where all being manipulated in one way or another and many are so oblivious.This is another topic in itself.Very thought provoking indeed!

After reading your account of the movie, I don't think it would be something I would watch. However, the question of whether or not you could kill someone is a sort of trick question because I think you only know the answer to that if your in that situation.
I also think that even someone who would "never kill anyone" may do so under certain circumstances, to save a child maybe or any loved one, maybe

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Well, the "situation" thing is kind of the point. I know that I would absolutely do anything to protect my children, but this isn't what the programme was about. Three out of four people "killed" a complete stranger because they were put under extraordinary pressure, and the purpose of the show was to demonstrate how easily manipulated any of us can be. Even into killing someone.