Film And Morals Essay, Research Paper
In the two films Primary Colors and Godfather, there is a difficult distinction of where the line can be drawn between what is business and what is morally wrong. Morals are important to have, but sometimes we have to make exceptions.
The Godfather paints a portrait of a family that loves each other and protects one another just like any close knitted family, except they happened to be gangsters that dabbled in murder and crime. They know that they want to be respectable and are striving to be so but the sheer reality of the situation for them is that the American dream doesn t always work out when you re an immigrant. This is symbolically portrayed in the scene at the daughter s wedding when a man is asking Don Vito for justice in dealing with the boys who brutally attacked his daughter because the courts failed him.
Morality is very fluid and can change culturally and individually. In the Godfather, morality is at constant odds with their actions, and it forces us to question our own morality at the same time. One phrase heard throughout the movie is, It s not personal, it s just business , but there is a fine line from when it stops being business and starts becoming personal. It felt like they needed that phrase to smother their morality in order to muster up enough courage to kill. The rules of American morality didn t apply to them and so they formed their own morality. One that involves protecting the family before all others.
Michael, Don Vito s son, is torn between two lives the one he wants to lead with Kay, a normal family man, and the life of his father. In the beginning he starts out by saying to his girlfriend, That s my family Kay, not me. Then his father was shot, and for the protection of the family Michael agrees to shoot a police captain and Salozzo. The distinct moment of change is very evident in Michael s eyes right before he shoots them, and the last of his humanity and moral sense just leaves him at that moment.
I related to Michael because it was either he killed them or they killed him. It might sound trite but morals can t feed your family or keep them alive. For example if a man has a starving family and has to steal food for their survival then who can tell him to forget his family and think of your moral duty not to steal.
Primary Colors begins with Henry, who becomes involved in the Presidential campaign of Jack Stanton, a southern governor. In the course of the movie, Henry has to cope with the moral issues raised by the campaign. He must decide if he wants to ruin the life of another candidate, who is a good man that made some mistakes in his past, or stick to his morals and quit Stanton’s campaign.
In this movie Libby Holden, a sort of private eye to Jack Stanton, plays the heroine. She digs up some dirt on Stanton s opponent and tests Stanton to see if he will use the information against his opponent, which, in turn, will ruin his opponent s life. Stanton fails her test of morality and she kills herself. It seems very touching and heroic. Although, she can live with herself when she is covering up all Jack Stanton s indiscretions, she cannot bear the thought of exposing his opponent and kills herself. This is sending out the message that it is justifiable to cover up facts from the voters as long as it is for your own team.
While writing this paper I wondered why I have such a pessimistic view of morality and realized that with our capitalist criterion of success, we don t stop to wonder if what we are doing is right or wrong. Our president can lie and his popularity rises among the younger people. Essentially I am taking the Machiavellian view that the end justifies the means in this society. Is this because we have been so programmed to expect the corruptibility of human nature?