Several recent films have depicted this sort of mass violence with sensitivity and sympathetic portrayals of the suspects' families as they attempt to pick up the pieces afterward.
"We Need to Talk About Kevin" from 2011, starring Tilda Swinton as the mother of a tormented teenage boy who goes on a deadly rampage, tries to help us understand the nature of a sociopath as well as the lifelong struggle of parenting such a difficult child.
Also from last year, "Beautiful Boy" follows a husband and wife (Michael Sheen and Maria Bello) on the verge of separation whose marriage collapses entirely when their 18-year-old son goes on a killing spree at his college, then takes his own life. And Gus Van Sant's artful, mesmerizing "Elephant" from 2003 tracks the lives of several ordinary high school students who are about to become targets of a Columbine-style shooting.
Vincent Grashaw, who produced and played a supporting role in last summer's intense, graphic drama "Bellflower," says he understands the need to find answers when a tragedy like this occurs. But he has no plans to soften the violence as he prepares to start production on his directorial debut, "Coldwater," about a teenage boy's struggle for survival in a wilderness juvenile reform center.
"As a filmmaker, when I hear people even utter questions like, 'Should Hollywood tone it down in terms of violence on film?' All I can do is just shake my head at this broad inquisition for it's an easy and obvious target," Grashaw said. "Having recently produced a pretty violent film and having seen the effect it had on many, I would be saddened if you were to harness anyone from that form of expression."
AP Television Writer Lynn Elber and AP Television reporter Marcela Isaza contributed to this report.
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