Modern film-makers attempt to explore the post- Nietzschean and existentialist worldview which questions the validity of many concepts and narratives that people readily accept. In particular, different authors re-evaluate the veracity of such notions as justice, respect for authority, and a person’s moral responsibility for one’s actions (Gilmore 119).
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This argument is particularly relevant if one speaks about such neo-noir movies as Chinatown directed by Roman Polanski and The Talented Mr. Ripley by Anthony Minghella. Both directors apply counter-narratives that challenge the expectations of the viewers. In particular, they show how villains can escape justice.
Nevertheless, Anthony Minghella goes much further and focuses on the antagonist who cannot even be challenged by any one. In contrast, Roman Polanski lays stress on the idea that there are people like Jake Gittes who are willing to struggle against injustice. These are the main questions that should be discussed more closely.
Overall, it is possible to say that Roman Polanski and Anthony Minghella examine such a theme as the existence of injustice in the community. In particular, the author shows that the main villains manage to escape punishment. For instance, Roman Polanski depicts such a character as Noah Cross who is responsible for the deaths of several people. More importantly, the protagonist, Jake Gittes, is forced to accept injustice (Chinatown).
Additionally, the director shows that authority figures such as Lieutenant Lou Escobar can tolerate injustice. One should keep in mind that this person knows that Noah Cross is guilty of multiple murders. However, Escobar does not try to investigate his crimes. Overall, the themes of Chinatown and the development of the plot confound the expectations of the audience. This is one of the details that can be distinguished.
In turn, the film The Talented Mr. Ripley also includes a counter-narrative that challenges the viewer’s notions of the community and social relations. In particular, one should speak about the premise according to which evil cannot go unpunished. It should be noted that Tom Ripley, who can be viewed as sociopath, is able to escape police, even though he murders several people (The Talented Mr. Ripley).
Apart from that, the movie challenges a traditional narrative which implies that there is always a protagonist who is willing to fight against injustice. Overall, this film lacks such a character. Anthony Minghella shows that there is no person who can challenge Tom Ripley. At the beginning, this character can experience remorse, but he soon rejects it (Pomerance 322).
This is one of the issues that should be taken into account. It is important for contrasting Chinatown and this film. Roman Polanski examines the experiences of Jake Gittes who wants to unravel the murder case and bring the culprit to justice. Overall, this individual cannot tolerate evil. This is one of the differences that should not be overlooked.
Overall, it is possible to say that Roman Polanski and Anthony Minghella effectively employ counter-narratives in order to create a post- Nietzschean perception of the society in which such notions justice and moral responsibility do not seem to be fully relevant or applicable. However, one can also say that Anthony Minghella is even more effective because he shows that in many cases, evil may not be necessarily challenged by anyone. Still, both film-markers are able to defy the conventions according to which crime cannot go unpunished.
Chinatown. Ex. Prod. Robert Evans. Los Angeles: Paramount Pictures, 1974. DVD.
Gilmore, Richard. “The Dark Sublimity of Chinatown.” The Philosophy of Neo-Noir.
Ed. Mark Conard. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2007. 119-137. Print.
Pomerance, Murray. Bad: Infamy, Darkness, Evil, and Slime on Screen, New York, SUNY Press, 2012, Print.
The Talented Mr. Ripley. Ex. Prod. William Horberg. New York: Paramount Pictures, 1999. DVD.