The Hurricane

Essay by terry_thommoHigh School, 12th gradeB, May 2004

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There are many definitions of the word 'power'. In one dictionary consulted there were over 123 entries but when applied to the human condition power can be defined as 'the ability to exercise control'. This control can be two fold. If we talk about power over oneself the words skill, virtue, potential, capability, ability and talent come to the fore but when we talk about the power of one human over another the words take on a sinister form - dominance, domination, rule, superiority, submission, forcefulness, coercion, violence and vehemence.

"The Hurricane" is a movie that deals with 'power' in both of these forms. Directed by Norman Jewison this movie tells the story of how Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter fights racism and discrimination from when he was a little boy, through his wrongful conviction of a triple murder and sentence in prison for the rest of his natural life until the purchase of his autobiography lead one young man on a mission to free him.

Jewison uses a range of techniques to portray Carter, a successful boxer on his way to becoming the middle-weight champion, not as a weakling who was wronged by society, but rather as a powerful individual who used his 'ability to exercise control' to overcome all wrongs that were inflicted upon him.

The beginning scenes of Carter boxing his way to becoming the middleweight champion are shot in black and white. This technique is used to emphasize the power of the black man over his white opponents. The camera shots show close ups, in slow motion, of the lethal impact of Carter's technique on his opponents. Carter is portrayed as physically strong.

The director then applies the technique of flashback to an episode in Carter's early life where he displayed the power of righteousness by defending his...