Monday, January 09, 2006

Race & Class In the Heat of the Night

An obvious reference to the film that can be observed initially is the cruel relationship our hero Virgil encounters with the majority of the Mississippi town’s folk. During the time in which the movie takes place and the setting, being in the rural South, it is quite clear why many of the southern men have such a great disliking for the unknown black man in there part of the country. Virgil has many obstacles he must surpass in order to prove his case right. First off, he must avoid the pressure of being the accused. After this dilemma of avoiding being considered the guilty person he takes his own intelligence and experience in the field of murder investigations to make what is right occur. Virgil has two real barriers in the film. The murder investigation is the true conflict of the work, but Virgil’s need to not only stay alive and prove his validity as a brilliant detective are the two true conflicts of the work. This aspect was probably my most favorite element of the film. The use of multiplicity in the genre of conflict. Virgil not only wants to prove the town and the law wrong about his beliefs in the investigation, but he also wants to go “home” to Philadelphia.
An interesting element to this movie is that it is not just about the issues of race, but also class. The murder occurs to a man of dangerous wealth and Virgil himself is a well paid detective from the North. The film grabbed my interest because of all these things which exist. Most of the characters in the movie have a direct motive to the murder due to their detest of what the deceased plans were of. And also most of the citizens of the town would want Virgil dead regardless of his ongoing knowledge within the investigation because most of the townsmen hate black people. The writer and director of the movie do a fine job of spinning a complicated web of deceit within a hatred brought out by men of ignorance.


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