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The Impact of Movies Regarding Criminal Justice in America

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In the world we live in criminal justice becomes a myth, despite statistics of the decreased criminal situation, murders, and crimes. In real-world, the state of affairs is so far from expectations. In order to demonstrate the difference between cruel reality and myths about justice, this paper will reflect the discussion of two movies. They are Training Day by inventive Antoine Fuqua and Sudden Impact by talented Clint Eastwood. The characters of these movies explain how complicated and unexpected action, circumstances, and their consequences can be. Dual nature of people, violence, and cruelty may change once and for all. Also, the paper explores how far a person (victim) might go in order to dispense justice.

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Nowadays, movies have a great impact on the audience. There is a certain “fashion” of motion pictures. A while ago, people were interested in vampire movies, zombies, and other creatures. One way or another, the mainstream urges the audience to observe special effects, violence, and intimacy on the screens. For this reason, most of the filmed versions of comic books and their heroes are very popular. Current “fashion” is to become a superhero, discover a special superpower, and save the world while protecting innocent people and administer justice. The real influence of movies has two sides depending on the genre and the main target. On the one hand, there are films that inspire, widen the scope, and provoke interest; the moves that have an actual “message” or food for thought for a viewer. On the other hand, a certain category of films includes brutality, violence, blood, and horror episodes. This situation has a negative impact on young viewers, provoking aggression, rage, and demonstrating antisocial behavior. Here are some examples of criminal justice, the classical Sudden Impact and Training Day with a fresh view on the corrupted law-enforcement system in America. Thus, the difference between social expectations and reality of policemen’s daily routine is demonstrated in Training Day: young and naive policeman Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) is eager to become a member of DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) in Los Angeles. His so-called tutor Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington) used to be a good policeman; nevertheless, years of practice and billions of disappointments have made him a wolf in sheep’s clothing. According to the plot of the movie, the old and experienced policeman must give test tasks for a new one. It seems that those tasks were directed to prove loyalty, humaneness, and aspiration to help innocents and ability to assimilate into criminals. The most intriguing part is to save the dignity and resist the criminal world, to be a policeman undercover, however, to avoid becoming a real criminal. Following the letter of the law is not as easy as it might seem; so, what is more, important to be a good policeman or honest citizen and human? Interestingly, experienced policeman Alonzo Harris has used positive and negative reinforcement in order to manipulate young Jake Hoyt. To be exact, Harris has used the phrase “that’s my nigger” every time he approved the Jakes’ actions no matter were they good (e.g. saving teenage girl from aggressive street men) or bad (like using drugs and alcohol). In such a way, he treated a young policeman like a laboratory rat, influencing his behavior. After the whole day full of violence, murder, and aggression, step by step, young Jake realized how spoilt, corrupted and far from justice the system is. There are so many paths to be wandered, so many mistakes to be made for understanding and learning a valuable lesson. In this case, it took almost 24 hours to create the real picture of criminal justice; in other words, it is worth killing a dozen to save thousands from misery or death. Considering that, at the end of the movie Training Day, the main characters switch places; one of them, namely, DEA agent Alonzo Harris, is murdered, and the other policeman Jake Hoyt comes home exhausted and injured, but steady regarding his principles and moral values. It was a matter of honor to resist all the temptations like money and dangers like attacks and beatings. After all, moral duty, following the law and personal values make people who they are. The movie is definitely worth watching; however, a viewer must be prepared for scenes of cruelty and violence. What concerns the main “message” of the film, everything we may observe is the tip of the iceberg; thus, not everyone wants to know about all the pitfalls and hidden dangers of detective’s job. The myth in this particular example lies in the existence of honest detectives devoted to their job. Future detectives and policemen are taught to act according to the law and principles; they are supposed to catch criminals, but not to become them. Training Day reflects all the naked truth about justice. The main character has to decide whether he is ready to be a part of the system or not.

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Regarding another analyzed movie, Sudden Impact was directed by insightful and gifted Clint Eastwood. Famous actor and film director took responsibility to play the main hero of the movie. The protagonist is detective Harry Callahan known as Dirty Harry. In spite of the fact that this movie is comparatively old and has no special effects (which are necessary for the spoilt modern viewer), Sudden Impact combines a great plot, intriguing dialogues, and the triumph of justice after all. The film reflects the story about a young lady, Jennifer Spencer (Sondra Locke) who was a victim of cruel rape. Moreover, her little sister had suffered as well; sadly, she lost her mind after the accident. Unfortunately, therapists were not punished, so Jennifer decided to administer justice herself. Without any doubt, this young lady turned out to be full of courage and aspiration to revenge and came up with a detailed but twisted plan. Many years after the horrible accident, Jennifer Spencer began “hunting” for offenders; to be particular, she has been killing them one by one, shooting off their reproductive organs and forehead. This way of justice demonstrates that the system cannot catch real criminals; so, in this case, the victim decided to put that in action herself. Clearly, a young woman finds “justice” in murders that have made Jennifer cynical, tough, and resolute but cold, desperate, and almost fearless at the same time. The desire for revenge has guided her until the last offender was dead. The detective Harry Callahan follows his personal moral code and intuition; he shadows and catches criminals for this reason. As he was assigned for that case, the sixth feeling of insightful detective hinted him that the artist Jennifer Spencer, her point of view about justice, and recent murders are connected. As for the main criminal of Sudden Impact, Jennifer Spencer lost her caution and almost avoided the second rape by accident. To be exact, Harry Callahan the detective, who investigated the case, found his murderer fighting with the rest of rapists. On the one hand, the call of duty and moral code has urged Callahan to arrest Jennifer Spencer and let her be brought to punishment for her unpardonable crimes. On the other hand, a young woman only tried to revenge and to render justice in her own way because the law machinery could not do that. Victim’s expectations of justice according to the law were not justified, so it is not quite fair to blame her. In this case, one victim presents the majority of society that hopes that criminal justice works. Nonetheless, social perception differs from the real state of affairs, and, in most cases, criminals have no punishment at all. According to the American System of Criminal Justice, dealing with the crime problem concerns not only the arrest, conviction, and punishment to offenders; it also requires the development of policies to deal with a host of issues such as gun control, stalking, hate crimes, computer crimes, drugs, child abuse, and global criminal organizations. Policemen train to defend innocents, prevent crimes and murders and do their best to make the justice triumph. It is not that simple; nevertheless, society must find ways to remain true to the principles of fairness and justice while operating a system that can effectively protect, investigate, and punish. Continuing the discussion about the problems of criminal justice in America, it is worth mentioning that “criminal justice raises vital questions for each of us about fairness, security, and rights within free society” (Croddy and Hayes 6). As in the United States, criminal justice is legal according to the Constitution of each state; thus, something is forbidden in one state of America, might be legal in another one. Following this statement, the fairness is questionable; it would be much simpler to submit one official Constitution for all states.

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