Violence in Films | Analysis

Violence is an important part of films in order to depict the sensational and explicit appeal. Films under the genre of gangster and war featured violence as the central theme of the film. The featuring of violence in these movies had to be accounted and was justified rationally. During the world war 11, Hollywood and the OWI made films were in American involvement in that war was justified and every concept or task undertaken by them in the film was made justifiable. The Americans were shown as duty bound officers performing their duties, righteous heroes who were fighting against oppression and dictatorship. Americans were considered the hero’s as they possessed the right stuff that made them first in their own place. Some of the ways the justification was made were that of

1. Thematic justification: in this, the theme of the movie or the background will show social disorder and loss of control in the country, and war is used as a way to bring peace and order to that country. thus violence is justified as it is bringing social order and resulting in a positive outcome.

2. Violence as a necessary part of patriotism : all soldiers of war are shown and praised as heroes in the movies. thus during the time of war, fighting was seen as a way of expressing your patriotism for your country and the violence involved in fighting was seen as necessary part of being patriotic.

3. Ideological justification: the USA justified the violence and killing in war by providing ideological excuses such as “we fight for the right to be free”, “we fight for democracy” etc.

4. War as a rite of passage: under this justification, the hero or the character will be shown as an irresponsible, carefree teenager who goes to war to fight and learns the lessons of life there. after fighting in battles, the boy comes back home as a wise and mature man. thus violence is playing the role of a teacher, transforming juvenile boys into responsible citizens. and thus, violence is justified.

5. Alienation and dehumanizing the enemy : here, the enemy is not seen as human and is portrayed as evil and monstrous and thus killing them is justified.

6. Portrayal of hatred with the Japanese and likeness with the Chinese: Though the Japanese and Chinese look alike, Hollywood films only show hatred toward the Japanese and not the Chinese. this bias could be because china became part of the allied forces and the USA saw the Chinese as friends in the war.

7. Oversimplified Dichotomy : a war is a result of many complex problems. there is good and bad in both sides in the war. thus, it becomes difficult to choose which side to support. but Hollywood war film would over simplify complex situation in to a simple choice between good and evil: showing the USA as good and the enemy as bad, thus forcing audiences to support the USA in the war. this is also a bias that can be observed in most war movies.

The 3 Hollywood films selected by the subject to analyze and identify the presence of the above parameters of justifications are:

Full metal jacket

Saving private Ryan

Inglorious Basterds

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Film 1

FULL METAL JACKET

Short Introduction: this movie was produced during the 1987’s. Directed and written by Stanley Kubrick, it is an adaptation of the novel “The short Timers”. The film follows a team/unit of US Marines through their training and the experiences that the 2 marines of the team in the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War. The title of the movie refers to the full metal jacket bullet used by infantry riflemen.

Analysis:

The movie in its totality is astonishingly beautiful yet insane. It is an epic piece that shows the inglorious indignities of the war. There are numerous scenes that are violent and yet justified to be shown as per the thematic justification. In this, the theme of the movie or the background will show social disorder and loss of control in the country, and war is used as a way to bring peace and order to that country. Thus violence is justified as it is bringing social order and resulting in a positive outcome. There are numerous rape scenes, smoking, profanity, drug, nudity, intense explicit along with heavy gore violence. The movie tries to show that violence does not solve violence. Even though the absurd and explicit scenes throughout the movie depict portrayal of violence, the movie through these scenes tries to show the dark side of human behavior. Violence in the film can be seen when a couple of men are punched in the groin by the drill instructor. Also a man shooting his drill instructor in the chest, shows blood splattered all around the place, the shooting takes place due to the intense suffering and frustration they go through, followed by which he puts the gun in his own mouth and pulls the trigger. The movie in itself shows Violence as a necessary part of patriotism wherein in all soldiers of war are shown and praised as heroes in the movies. .

The movie best captures the absurd dehumanization involved throughout the war and also through the training periods, endless pre battle waitings and the bloody cleanup after the violent war. The dialogues in the film also show the extent to which the opponents or the characters are verbally dehumanized through vulgarity and unspeakable racial dialogues. The movie depicts the dark side of human nature and dehumanization. There are themes of dehumanization and human evilness depicted throughout the movie through its gore violence. Full Metal jacket gives a chance to explore the dark side of human psyche and violent nature of humans.

There is no limitation to the heroic play of ambition. War is considered as a platform to fight and show the manliness in one self. There is training to men who come from different background and socio economic status. Learning to fight is justifiable were in men fight to protect, be it from anything. This shows that fighting is considered manly, and going out to fight in the war is manliness. It is basically the rite of passage which shows the hero or the character will be shown as an irresponsible, carefree teenager who goes to war to fight and learns the lessons of life there. After fighting in battles, the boy comes back home as a wise and mature man. Thus violence is playing the role of a teacher, transforming juvenile boys into responsible citizens. And thus, violence is justified. The punch line of the movie in itself shows the characters (men) are born to kill ! This also in a way describes the Ideological justification involved in the film. Here the USA justified the violence and killing in war by providing ideological excuses such as “we fight for the right to be free”, “we fight for democracy”. Hence the war is justified by them as a reason to achieve something that they think is important.

During the time of war, fighting was seen as a way of expressing your patriotism for your country and the violence involved in fighting was seen as necessary part of being patriotic. The intense violence in the film is thus justified in its portrayal and that it is a very important component to the film .The movie shows a lot of men dying. Be it from the opponents or the party themselves, a lot of bloodshed and yet fighting despite having lost every resources proves the patriotism involved. Fighting in the war is justified as fighting for the country. This itself shows killing and bloodshed is a part of their patriotism and right to fight for their concern. The intense bloodshed and negativity against the killers shows hatred against them and how killing them and plotting against them is justified.

The movie makes us to think that there is a reason why this is happening and that the characters are doing what is right and what ought to be done. It is shown as good , the complexity in understanding the entire sphere to the film is simplified by just showing the character as superior, logical and having done something that is right and that needs to be justified whether one likes it or not . There is a sense of dichotomy involved. A war is a result of many complex problems. There is good and bad in both sides in the war. Thus, it becomes difficult to choose which side to support. But Hollywood war film would over simplify complex situation in to a simple choice between good and evil: showing the USA as good and the enemy as bad, thus forcing audiences to support the USA in the war. This is also a bias that can be observed in most war movies.

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Film 2

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN

The movie is a screen play by Robert Rodat, and directed by the famous Steven Spielberg. It is an epic World War II objective story.

Analysis:

This movie is very intense, has incredible violence, brutality, messiness and dark side involved in it. The most intense parts of the film are the battle scenes. The movie is all about a group of American soldiers in World War II, who are being appointed to find, hunt and bring back Private James Ryan who is supposedly fighting somewhere in the French country side. Through the search the movie depicts the various incidents that the men appointed for the mission encounters, which also leads to death of many of the men. This shows that fighting for a cause is justifiable. Thus the USA justified the violence and killing in war by providing ideological excuses such as “we fight for the right to be free”, “we fight for democracy” “we fight for a reason” etc. Hence the plot in itself ideologically justified what is featured.

The film throughout contains clips that depict infliction of pain and serious physical harm which are lengthy, frequent and very gory in nature. The most notable one is that of the one in the opening shot of the film. The shots starts of with the US forces landing on the Omaha Beach on the D day, which is realistic in terms of the horror of war, the injuries and fatalities involved then ,the scene lasts for 25 min. Every man in the film is depicted either dying or dead. The injuries inflicted are horrible in nature. The most memorable are the scenes that involves a man holding on to his arm that is blown off in a bomb blast, a man who is still alive on the ground with his entrails spilling out and also a scene were a solider is dragging another injured solider to the beach only to realize when he turns back that he is dragging the feet of the solider which is blown off in the blast. Hence the very depiction of violence in the movie is justified.

Thus, the most interesting character in the film is the sniper played by Barry Pepper, who calls on God for “strength” in shooting the enemy. Thus the film throughout shows dead bodies, bloody everywhere, bodily part scattered and sometimes making the audience disgusted to look at the gruesome projection of the dead soldiers from both the parties. This explains the extent of violence and bodily violence and gore that is projected in the film, is somewhere justified as part of dehumanization and hatred against the enemy.

The mission and the hunt throughout the film show the patriotism they have towards their country and men of higher order. Thus the violence involved in the mission and their patriotism that keeps them driving despite the violence is commendable. all soldiers of war are shown and praised as heroes in the movies. thus during the time of war, fighting was seen as a way of expressing your patriotism for your country and the violence involved in fighting was seen as necessary part of being patriotic.

The movie shows how the men are trained for the war, and how the new entry/fresher’s struggle with the lifestyle involved and that fighting for the country and putting up with the violence is not an easy task .It is a man’s thing and requires strength and determination. The patriotism and the extent to which men fight and give up their lives for the country and higher personnel’s shows how men mature over a period of time and fighting in the war is manliness and changes their way of looking at life. It is a passage of rite.

The war in the movie is a result of many complex problems, along with the search mission. There is good and bad in both sides to the war. Thus, it becomes difficult to choose which side to support. But the Hollywood war film would over simplify complex situation in to a simple choice between good and evil: showing the USA as good and the enemy as bad, thus forcing audiences to support the USA in the war. This is also a bias that can be observed in most war movies. The film shows how USA s off to rescue one of their men and how justifiable they are in everything that happens or that they do throughout their journey. There is a sense of over simplifying the dichotomy. It is left to the audience to perceive the right or wrong, but the projection done by the USA gives a glance into how they justify everything they do

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Film 3

INGLORIOUS BASTERDS

The film is one of the best known war movies, which full violence to it. The film is visually graphic in terms of the explicitly involved in it. Violence in the movie is part of the war and in the fight mission to kill Nazi’s. Hence violence is justified as part of the war. There are very intense scenes like in the beginning were people are shot through the floorboards, there is bloody mist and a girl running covered in blood. The strangulation, scalping of the Nazi’s, beating the Nazi with a bat and a baseball hitting and cutting of throat, and scalp of the head are some the extreme violence openly displayed in the film. This also shows to the extent that enemy is dehumanized and alienated, there are scenes that show the extent to which they are treated as non humans where in someone shoots in the face multiple times and the skin is lifted off the face, these torture techniques show how the enemy is dehumanized. Also towards the end, the symbol of the swastika is craved on to Waltz’s forehead, symbolizing evil. All this denotes/ communicates human tragedy dehuman. All this shows how violence is justified and how patriotic they are in accomplishing their task through any means.

The movie in itself lists a lot of propaganda that is used to get their motives. Scenes where they show, Lieutenant Aldo Raine ,who assembles a special unit of Jewish-American soldiers to get to their mission, standing on a heap of dead bodies with pride, shows victory, war and killing as celebration and how creating social order can gain back control. He represents the macho man who has set out on a war and achieved the purpose and thus justifying war as a rite of passage.

A sense of thematic justification is seen in the film. Eg:In the teaser, Pitt tells his troop that they are going do one thing and only one thing which is killing the Nazi’s. And he states that they are going to be cruel as this will show them who they are in real. He asks his troops under him to get him at least 100 scalps. The movie justifies the violence and killing in war by providing ideological excuses such as “we fight for the right to be free”, “we fight for democracy” etc. The extent of cruelty can be seen here. In order to kill the Nazi’s, any means to achieve social order or their motive and control is adopted. In this, the theme of the movie or the background will show social disorder and loss of control in the country, and war is used as a way to bring peace and order to that country. Thus violence is justified as it is bringing social order and resulting in a positive outcome.

Violence and hatred is shown at its peak here. The protagonist takes pleasure in the violence that is being undertaken. The film glories Vengeance, revenge, disrespect to humanity in every shot. The movie oversimplifies the dichotomy by proving that they are out there to kill Nazi’s and they are justified in killing their enemies in the most brutal way. They put across this in a way wherein they are the superior power who knows what steps need to be undertaken and in what way. But they put it across as the right, good way of how they have fought it out. Hence leaving the audience dazed with choice of their own to react how they feel like to the extent of cruelty and brutality that the movie depicts.