Touch of Evil: Abuse of Power and Corruption in the Police Force

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James Temple
Coms 356
Paper on Lighting

I believe an important theme of Touch of Evil is the abuse of power and corruption in the police force. The film follows detectives as they try and find out who planted dynamite in a car which blew up. Detective Hank Quinlan shows up on the scene and has a feeling that the dynamite was planted by someone on the Mexican side. Detective Quinlan is a corrupt detective who does anything he can to drag evil doers to justice. His fellow officers awe him and his reputation to take justice into his own hands. Detective Quinlan can be both a good and evil guy. In the first example, Chiaroscuro lighting is used to darken Hank Quinlan’s face. This lighting shows how Quinlan is an evil individual who gets what he wants. This lighting is of low key since it is hard to see Quinlan’s face. To the right of Quinlan is one of the Mexican mob men and Susan with light shining on them coming from the right side of the screen. This light is of high key and high contrast. The light is shining on Susan as if this scene wants to show us how she is good and that she is just an innocent bystander. On the face of Hank is a stern look which gives him a sinister appearance that he’ll do anything to obtain justice. The Mexican mob guy is standing there with his hands up with light shining all over him as to say that he is a good guy and hasn’t done anything wrong but we know that this isn’t the case. In the second example, we have light shining on Hank Quinlan and Ramon Vargas. Here the lighting is of high key and high contrast. This is picture is when Quinlan tells Vargas that the dynamite has been in this box, but Vargas tells him that he just looked in the box and it wasn’t in there before. Vargas’ face is lit showing that he is of innocence and is a good guy. On the other hand Quinlan has his hat on which cast a little shadow over his eyes showing that he is evil. We can tell that Quinlan is up to something and that it was most...
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