English Crime Fiction Essay

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Through the film L.A. Confidential by Curtis Hansen and the novel The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender by Marele Day, the composers manipulate the expectations and conventions of crime genre to generate their own representations of society. These crafted views of crime in society position the audience to view certain aspects of society differently, and to question the boundaries and norms currently set up. The audiences of both texts are encouraged to take a position on the truth behind facades, the role of gender and the controversy between justice and morality. Both Los Angeles and Sydney are shown to hide a dark side beneath the glamour, but differences lie in the position of women and the significance of the law in effective crime fighting. In both texts, the attractive facade of the city is removed to reveal an ugly truth of crime and corruption. At the very beginning of L.A. Confidential, the audience is made aware of both faces of the city. Los Angeles is the place to go to begin a family, find a job, meet movie stars or to be discovered: bright lights and beautiful beaches and “orange groves that stretch as far as the eye can see” (Hanson, 1997). These are the sights that give L.A. its wonderful image. However, underneath what appears to be “paradise on Earth”, a network of organised crime is at work, stemming to the corrupt LAPD. In The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender, the story follows Claudia Valentine who takes on an investigation of a case which initially seems isolated. However, as the investigation continues, the tracks lead back to the underbelly of Sydney. The audience follows Claudia behind the buzzing clockwork of city life, revealing the “cancerous growth” that is Harry Lavender. Lavender is the city, and he has commanded his city to stalk and stop Valentine in her quest for the truth. The exposure to the dark side of Sydney comes gradually to the audience, and the exploitation of the truth behind the facades of the two cities encourage the...
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