Suit With Vested Interests (TV Tropes)



“In [Jaws], you will recall, the danger of shark attacks was concealed by venal real estate speculators who didn’t want to scare the buyers away. That’s the case this time, too; The Realtor throws a party for prospective home buyers and denies that there are piranhas in the lake until most of his would-be buyers have been digested. Implausible, you say? Try telling that to the piranhas. Next, I am anticipating a movie called Realtor.”

— Roger Ebert on Piranha

If you’ve seen a Disaster Movie or Monster Movie, you’ve probably seen this trope. There’s an oncoming disaster and The Hero is trying to get everyone to see the Cassandra Truth. Problem is that there’s this one guy, a businessman in a nice suit, involved with something that’s going to suffer if the disaster comes about. He’ll argue against people believing the hero or the Ignored Expert, he’ll try to convince people that they are safe with his product, he’ll focus on the potential rather than the safety, and he’ll try to stop word from getting further so that the stock prices don’t sink, all while the boat does.

The vested interest varies with each story. He could be the owner of the project that is actively causing the disaster or whose destruction is the disaster. On the other hand, it could just be that they would lose a lot of money from the Attack of the Town Festival. In fact, in the Attack of the Town Festival, expect this role to be played by the mayor. Finally, the best way to really up their villainy and corruption is for them to actually try to profit off the disaster when faced with the truth, with the disaster itself becoming the vested interest.

Similarly, his portrayal and motivation varies. He could be an outright Corrupt Corporate Executive who believes the disaster and just doesn’t care, or simply so emotionally invested in what he has that he can’t bring himself to face the truth. The latter tends to resonate better and appear more realistic to audiences, as well as having a natural connection to the common theme in disaster movies of Mankind vs. His Folly.

He can be either an old set-in-his-ways businessman, or a young, up-and-coming-with-a-lot-to-prove, charming guy. Pretty much Always Male due to the age of these movies, the characters, the nature of the flaw, and the Love Interest occasionally starting off as his and then changing over to the hero. By the way, the old guy vs. young buck choice tends to work as a foil to the hero.

He’ll often be the Doomed Contrarian and get finally called out as Lethally Stupid. Compare Death by Materialism.

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