Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"Training Day"

"Training Day" was a really interesting film full of many questions about race, hierarchy, and ethics.

One similarity I saw between this film and "Se7en" was how in both films, the African American was the mentor for the white cop. However, in "Training Day," Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) desperately wants the job on Alonzo's (Denzel Washington) team and so he does whatever Alonzo tells him to do and listens intently to all he has to say. This is a stark contrast to Mills in "Se7en" who rarely listened to Somerset and simply did what he felt was the right thing to do even though he knew Somerset was wiser and more experienced.

I am struggling with the question of race in this film. Did race play a big part in this film? I do believe it played a larger part than it did in "Se7en." Wherever Alonzo and Jake would go, Alonzo would automatically have the respect from the people he would approach (or attack). Jake was often ignored or verbally abused. Through most of the film I thought this was because Jake was white and did not have as much "street cred" as Alonzo. Alonzo had more respect because he was black, therefore the people he was approaching felt they could relate to him more. But was that really the case? Or did the people on the street respect Alonzo because he had worked in that area for many years and was simply more experienced than Jake? Again, like "Se7en," is it more about experience than about race?

The end really threw me through a loop. When Alonzo and Jake faced off in the bad neighborhood, why did the residents take Jake's side? I know Alonzo did a lot of terrible things to those people (and others), but in reality, would they suddenly all jump to the white man's rescue? When Jake first walked into the neighborhood alone people were shouting at him and asking what he thought he was doing walking on those streets. But suddenly, ten minutes later, they are all standing up for him. Do they really hate Alonzo that much?

I thought this was an excellent film and I am definitely looking forward to hearing discussion on it tomorrow.


Blogger Christina said...

I'm questioning the whole race and experience thing too. It seems like race is important, especially since Alonzo keeps calling Jake "my nigga." And then we see the times Jake confronts the different racial groups and they automatically are negative towards him. But is it because he's white, or just because they have no idea who he is?

With the whole ending and the neighborhood taking Jake's side, the only connection I make with that is when Jake and Alonzo first walk into the neighborhood, and Alonzo talks to the one black male before going into the apartment. The guys says something about how Alonzo did something really great for his son or something, but then when Alonzo walks away, but guys mumbles how he can't stand him. Maybe that was supposed to be our hint there that the neighborhood really didn't like him.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Danielle A said...

The residents took Jake's side because they know the wrongdoing that Denzel has done and would keep on doing. If you noticed during the time when Denzel first went to his girl's house, one of the guys thanked Denzel for sticking up for his cousin or something, but when Denzel walked away, the guy murmured how he does not like Denzel of some sort. All in all, Denzel had power because he was a cop and also had a lot of dirt on all the men in that neighborhood

5:49 PM  
Blogger Vladigogo said...

Why do they protect Jake?

What would Guerrero say about this ending? What is it saying about blacks and whites and the roles they play with each other?

Definitely the film is much more involved in depicting a variety of ethnic characters--consider this world to the world of Se7en. However, who are the bad guys? Which ethnicities? Who is the conquering hero?

I imagine Guerrero would have a field day with this flick.

7:02 PM  
Blogger Alexandria Vazquez said...

I agree with you, that the issue of race or experience is blurred in this film. It seems the environment that Alonzo worked in was comprised almost entirely with blacks or crooked people such as himself. However, I believe the reaction that he received from his peers was a direct result of the bullying he inflicted upon them. If they respected him for his experienced then they would have a more positive reaction to his presence, not a closeted loathing for him.

11:14 PM  

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