Movies that address ethical isuess – part II

Told you I’m gonna write a second part. To be honest, even I am surprised that I’m keeping my promise.

So.

Exam (2008, Fernando Meirelles)

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Even though all the action unravels in a single room, this movie is quite intense, I must say. Long story short, top minds are gathered to take the final step of a job interview. They are given a set of rules, and beyond that, everything’s left to their creativity and problem-solving skills.

What are we capable of doing when competing with the best? How low will our basic human values gonna get when we fight for our dream job (or dream-anything tbh)?

The movie also shows some shitty situations we may encounter in the future as: when you have to take responsability for your work (in this case test) even if someone else ruins it; when you have to find a way to communicate and cooperate with your team, even though you can’t stand them.

So, basically, this movie is a metaphor of having a job.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006, Tom Tykwer)

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Well, first of all, Ben Whishaw. I don’t remember when exactly I started liking him, if it was before or after I watched this movie, but anyhow, his interpretation of this character was marvellous.

Everybody has a passion, but the one that Jean-Baptiste (Whishaw) has is kind of uncommon – or so I think- . He’s obsessed with creating the perfect smell, the perfect perfume. This thought captivates him so much, that he starts doing…let’s say, unethical things.

The question is, when the work of a genius takes such a turn, should he stop? Shoud he supress his creation, even though he might provide the world with something incredible, beyond knowledge? Or should the artist choose in favour of his art and go as far as human sacrifice?

Well, to be honest, I prefer a world where art doesn’t kill people in a literal way. But this movie remains an utter fascination for me.

Die Welle (2008, Dennis Gansel)

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This is a movie my highshool history teacher made us watch. It’s about a professor that tries to show his students what a dictatorship feels like on their own skin, by installing such a regime during his classes.

You’ll see good things, such as equality between students. The shy kids get a chance to improve themselves, to speak up. They all wear a white shirt as a uniform, so clothes won’t differentiate them. The teacher make them change their seats, so that the already made groups will break, and they’ll all get to know each other.

But you’ll see that at some point equality becomes dangerous.

Days of Heaven (1978, Terrence Malick)

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A movie that made a lot of Must Watch lists. It’s about a poor couple that arrive to work at a rich man’s farm. Bill (Richard Gere) convinces Abby (Brooke Adams) to seduce the dying owner of the farm, so that after his death she will inherit everything.

Well, yeah, totally unethical. And guess what happens after the rich guy discovers he’s not actually gonna die that soon. And when Abby kinda starts liking him.

Wild (2014, Jean-Marc Vallée)

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The question is, after we’ve done some stupid bad shit, are we allowed to start over? This movie is about a woman’s journey for redemption. She hikes 1.100 miles, considering this is the only way for her to restart her life.

Personal tragedy pushed her to coping mechanisms such as drugs and sex with anyone but her husband. Is she allowed forgiveness after she’s done such harm to herself and the ones she cares for?

She kind of is, apparently.

Rope (1948, Alfred Hitchcock)

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A really interesting point of view regarding the value of a human being. The movie is shot so that we won’t be able to notice any cuts (like Birdman), creating the feeling that the movie happens in real time.

Long story short, in the beginning there are three guys, and two of them murder the third. One is left with qualms of conscience, when the other is convinced that his superiority justifies the murder. They were expecting guests, so they hide the body and try to pretend nothing happened.

Well, you can’t fool James Stewart, can you? He realises (his character actually) something’s not right and begins a subtle investigation.

What happens with the one that consideres himself superior? Well, he wants his superiority to be known and understood. By the ones that deserve it, of course.

This movie brings up a lot of questions. Who are we to consider ourselves more entitled to live than others? Is someone’s life more important than others’? Should we act like animals, killing off the weak ones? Judging someone’s worth by intelligence?

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013, Martin Scorsese)

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Most of you have seen this movie. And you know what’s wrong with what the main character does. Making himself rich by taking advantage of people’s innocence or stupidity.

The scene that really struck me was the detective’s (or policeman, I don’t remember) ride home. He gets in the subway and looks around him. He sees the world with the same eyes he did before capturing the bad guy. And he realises that the world is, in fact the same, and him doing the right thing is insignificant for most people.

So, is it really necessary to fight for the right things in life? Will we actually make a change?

Well, if you see the big picture, I think it will. If everybody would be a douchebag, the world would be really fucked up. But still, I really liked that scene.

You can learn something useful from every movie you watch (almost). There are movies like Friends with Kids(2011) that raise questions like: is it really necessary to have a classic-mom-and-dad family to raise a child? Or Closer(2004), that makes us wonder if a relationship with 100% honesty is what we really need, or if we can blame the other for lying when we weren’t saints either. Or maybe The Best Offer(2013), when we feel bad for the old bitter man and wonder if what happened to him was a punishment he deserved. Have you ever wondered if humanity deserved what happened at the end of Transcencence(2014)?  Or if the relationship between the three adolescents in The Dreamers(2003) was kind of…idk…awkward? Or the way the teacher believed he was motivating Miles Teller in Whiplash(2014) was actually necessary for his development as a musician?

The line between right and wrong is so so thin. We mostly use our instincts and already made social constructs when it comes to define what’s good and what’s bad. What we must do is try to improve ourselves by asking questions and really consider our choices. And when in doubt, maybe call a friend?

*i do not own any of these pictures, obv

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