Dirty Haryy

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Alexa TondiSpring 2013
Paper TwoLA 342- 801
“ All I knew was, a rat was the lowest thing you could be in my neighborhood and I didn’t rat”

Tom Leitch writes that it is the ideal depiction of a police film to unite individual empowerment and communal welfare. While raising the topic of this migration, Leitch also forces one to analyze the relationship between morality and the law as whole. As seen in the in class viewings such as Dirty Harry and Serpico, society plays a much larger role in differentiating between right and wrong and allowing the law to only play its part when society says so.

In the 1973 American crime film, Serpico, this societal dictation is depicted through the precincts involvement with the “italian mafia” or with Serpico’s isolation from his neighborhood for speaking against it. Throughout the movie the idea is portrayed that if you were not a corrupt police officer you could not be trusted, personifying the negative connotation of the police force, and law enforcement in itself. Al Pacino’s character Francis Serpico initially finds himself attending the Police Academy as a form of dignified respect, a title that society understands and idealizes. As the son of an immigrant family Serpico finds himself needing that idolization, needing to remove himself from the neighborhood where he watched his friends get stuck. Anxious to get out of the “old neighborhood” Serpico finds himself moving into the trendy Lower East Side of New York City and engulfing himself in its trending culture. As a uniformed patrolman, Serpico succeeded at every assignment, but it is not until he starts to patrol the streets on “plain clothes” assignments that the audience sees the complete change within Serpico. It is in this instance that Serpico starts to slowly discover a hidden world of illicit activities among his idolized colleagues. This struggle starts to take a toll on Serpico. The acknowledgement that this force he held to such high...
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