All entries for October 2009

October 18, 2009

Chicago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B22XodQP7B0&feature=related

The world where a crime is merely a nourishment for press and a trial is just a show where a criminal has his 5 min of fame. Forgotten victim, manipulation and easily convincable jury - this is what constitutes justice in the Windy City. Where is the truth? How far can we go in retelling the story for the sake of winning the case?

Roxie Hart, bored downtown housewife, seeks for excitment outside her marriage. Not only that however. She betrays her husband with a furniture seller who promises her to introduce her to some prominent guy who will enable her the career of actres she has always dreamt about. When the obvious verity comes out and the guy beats her up, she, ripped off her hopes, shoots him. This is her first step to career. The second is when she hires a 'never-lost-a-case' lawer Billy. Then everything accelerates. He uses media to spotlight Roxie's case and teaches her the art of semblance.  The truth is not what the jury needs to hear, they need the past so coloured that they will mercy the criminal. Billy, in a singy way, presents the ugly reality of justice administration and the people who crave for some fresh flesh. Before Roxie's case Velma Kelly, another killer, was the famous one - she had all the headlines and hot publicity. Now, in jail both fight rather for the attention of media than for the winning of the case because they know that a good lawer, which they already have, may give them existence, but only newspapers can give them 'being' they desire. Nevertheless, once the case is won they cease to be interesting and so, also popular. One case follows another,audience wants to be suprised by yet another homicide.

Chicago can really make us think that a trial has nothing to do with the truth, that is is just about the show. Billy sings gently: 'razzle-dazzle them', give them fleshes, passion, give them show! and compares the trial to the circus. And what is the show about? Acting and make-believe! She dresses Roxie so that she looks modest, teaches word-by-word how to answer the questions - Billy knows the language of the jury, realizes that appearances can do more good for him than the truth. More! He doesn't even take the truth into consideration. He doesn't even ask about it when he meets the client. This is a good trick: if he knew the truth it would be for him unethical to encourage Roxie to plead not guilty. He doesn't ask, so he can invent the entire story and so, manipulate the jury. He escapes from thinking - he puts his client into such stories which he knows allow to avert conviction instead of exercising with factual situations. It sortov shows that justice administration totally diverges from morals and that it is essential for you to hire a lawer to win - otherwise you would be inclined to tell the truth and end up on a death row... Just like their Hungarian friend who got hung because she didn't know what to say (and most probably she wouldn't know how to say it as well), had no lawer and proper publicity; her case however was deadly similar to Roxie's and Velma's cases, so we see that the justice relies grossly on the lawer who constructs the defence.

The crime is cool. It is fun to know the details, have the same haircut as the criminal and buy your daughter a Roxie-doll. To be a part of the show - of course! Press just feeds the appetites of news-hungry rabble and temporarily puts on pedestal yet another crime celebrity. Therefore, the importance of the media is overwhelming as it wins some 'sympathy-points' for the accused. Therefore, the lawers has to belong and inscribe himself into this mass hysteria and play in the court. Example? Billy gives Roxie a tissue even before she starts crying. Or another. He shouts 'objection' before a prosecutor askes a question. Silly? Yes,but this is what people want.

The interesting side-plot in the film is the relationships in the jail, namely the relationship between jail's 'Mama' and her girls. 'When you are good to Mama, Mama's good to You'. Mama Morton can make a call to get a lawer for you, buy some shampoo you wouldn't get in the jail and so on. She enables a criminal to get out of prison by helping with small things which amount to big part of the defence. Although she does it for money, she also establishes some kind of connection with the girls as she wants to be in the show. Her vanity pushes her to safely benefit from the popularity of those under her charge while not being punished in case the case fails. Mama Morton also colaborates with Velma and advices her - the diary issue - she plays an important role from the backstage. She is the part of the maschinery and knows of the lies of Velma and Roxie but does nothing to bring the girls to REAL justice. Yet another example that justice administration is corrupted and immoral... Billy wins the cases for fame (I forgot to mention that during the press conference this was he who answered the questions, not Roxie - this is his show in fact, criminals are just the dolls who think it is all about them), Morton doesn't make justice happen because the intrigue and injustice are more fascinating.

The last aspect I will briefly mention here is Roxie's pregnancy. 'Fake' pregnancy. When the ground benath her started to burn she got this brilliant idea to pretend she is expecting a baby. Yet another dirty trick... How far can one go to reach for what he wants? That far. Show must go on.


October 11, 2009

Michael Clayton

Coulisse of law corporations, the fight between the will to suceed and the drive towards justice... Michael Clayton is the lawer who does the donkey work - he solves the unsolvable: he settles the extincition of investigation in the case of road accident made by some 'big fish', rescues the reputation of a politician who was caught to behave carelessly. By the time. Doubts come when his friend, Arthur, one of the most cunning lawers 'freeks out' and sabotages the work of his employer: UNorth. It turns out that UNorth is polluting the environment and effictively killing people, which Arthur discovers and choses not to defend the company from the plaintiffs whose families has been suffering because of the pollutant. Arthur starts his own crusaide to punish his wrongdoers by misrepresenting them and gathering documents for the claimants; Michael is to shut him down, so that UNorth can win the case worth several millions of dollars. Clayton finds himself in a trap - either will be betray a friend and his conscience and stand for the bad to pay his debts, or he will favor his internal justice and lose a job.

Cases do not dealt with just in the court. Lots of details like evidence, testimony are settled before they find the daylight. Michael Clayton shows how lawers, knowing the law (and how to avoid it), manipulate the justice by playing with witnesses,eliminating the evidence. Everything is just the case of money. It seems that a lawer does not only represent his client in the court, he also 'cleans up' and often gives the sentences himself by not allowing the case to be heard by the judge. The film shows that lawers not only balance on the boundary of law but that the cross it for money. Clayton uses his skill to avoid the justice because this is what his company and clients want. Law chamber ceases to be a bastion of help for wrongdoers - this is now the enterprice which wipes out the sins.

Very important motif in this film is the one with Arthur. After 6 years of negotiation for UNorth he discovers the toxicity of their product and reminds himself that he should be pursuing the truth and so... help the plaintiff. However, this cannot be approved by his superiors, who after being lawers for so many years ceased to see the truth, don't speak with and don't care about the victims to avoid remorse... He decides to fight anyway. This is taken by his collegues as a sign of insanity, the try to stiffle him just to get the money. Defalcation to the chamber is taken as a bigger sin than the defalcation to the justice. Furthermore, Arthur is the embodiment of humans' nature: how long can we live in a lie? Is the lawer different than other human in that he can lie longer without getting crazy? This film shows that lawers feel responsible for the actions for their client because if they win the case for them they will share the responsibility for the suffering of the claimants... however, not all the lawer let this feeling of guilt speak: here we have Karen, who smothers the guilt. Why does she do it? She sacrificed her entire life to be a lawer, she doesn't have a family and friends and so she defends the bad - because this bad is all she has.

A swindler is a higher form of a lawer. Law corporation are weak - they need to hire people who help them avoid the truth because if the case would go to the court without any previous intervention the truth would prevail. This tell us something sad about law chambers: they are incapable of defending their client without some tricks, e.g. wire-tapping or bulglary, but also something glorifying about the law administration: even the best commercial lawers would not defend and win every case if not the unlawful freaks. 

This is a good film for future commertial lawers. Do You really want to replace the happiness of watching your kinds grow with money and guilt? Do You want to discover that the only thing that can stimulate you to feel is gambling after hours of work? Do you want to find out one day that no-one is really around you because you despise your assistants, journalists and see your dad once a year? 


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