"Doing the Right Thing" - An Analysis of the movie Insider's influence on our society in response to Sydney Polack's Article "The Way We Are."

Essay by YukaicCollege, UndergraduateA+, January 2005

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It is not easy to do the right thing. Doing the right thing often involves compromising one's self-interest for others who might not appreciate his/her sacrifice. However, such an action is a benevolent virtue that our society tries to encourage by honoring it and making it memorable to everyone. In addition to a plethora of newspaper and magazine companies, our movie industry is also zealous about presenting stories with such a theme. Many commendable virtues are presented on television and in movies. While many believe that movies cause the public to establish new morality values, Sydney Pollack claims that movies do not inspire public virtues, but reflect what is already ingrained into society. Instead of leading the public movement, movies simply follow it. While his statement has a strong standpoint, I believe that movies can, to some extent, influence public views on many moral values, leading to popularization or promotion of virtues that are not often held in our society.

Michael Mann's Insider (1999) venerates and promotes many hidden virtues, such as justice, honesty, and self-sacrifice, while disdaining negative qualities like injustice, dishonesty, and materialism present in our society.

Pollack states that before anything else, "American Movies are a product" (522).A movie's first goal is to make money. Therefore, whatever themes and moral content filmmakers would like to have in their films, movies can only reflect what the public wants to see. The public mostly wants to see something it can relate to. The public views movies as an escape from real life and entertainment, not education. Therefore, American audiences rarely prefer message driven movies without excitement. As Pollack states, American films "work by indirection...action and movement... almost always movement" (527), clearly showing that in order to attract the attentions of the audiences, films need to be energetic and nerve-grasping...