‘Mockingbird’ challenges racial injustice

Atticus Finch and Tom Robinson inside the Macomb County Courtroom.

Mockingbird movie image by Universal Pictures

Atticus Finch and Tom Robinson inside the Macomb County Courtroom.

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The movie “To Kill A Mockingbird” is quite possibly one of the greatest works of art in film history. It tells the story of one of the greatest fictional heroes of our time (Atticus Finch) a white lawyer who is to defend Tom Robinson (a black man) of raping and beating a white woman (Mayella Ewell). The movie is told from the perspective of Atticus’s child, a girl by the nickname of Scout, played by Mary Badham.

I think director Robert Mulligan was trying to get across the fact that segregation was a very active and terrible thing that has happened in our country. Tom Robinson was obviously not guilty of the crimes they said that he committed. The evidence was overwhelming against his sentencing. Actually, if he was a white man, he wouldn’t even have been sent to court (this is because Bob Ewell is a reputed liar). But, alas,Tom was a black man, so they accused him and found him guilty. This movie is shown from the view of a little girl witnessing all of this. She doesn’t understand just how bad the world is yet, and this movie is like a big revealing to her. Actually, I believe that this movie was meant to be a wake-up call for the people of that time. They didn’t know that segregation was wrong, because they grew up with it and it was normal.The little girl represented them and how they were raised with segregation. The Human mind can only do terrible things because it deceives itself that what it is doing is right. And once you figure out that it is wrong and terrible, then you can’t go back (unless you are seriously screwed up).

Robert Mulligan was an amazing director. He was in the directing business for about 40 years, from 1957-1991. He was one of the first directors to create his own specific style. It utilized liquid camera movements and precise angles that fully dramatized every piece he made. He was also adept at using adolescents in his movies.

The movie ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ is quite possibly one of the greatest works of art in film history.”

— Timothy Edwards

He used a lot of fades. I remember this particularly because of the part in the courthouse just after Atticus had given his cross-examination, and then it faded into after the two hours had passed in when the jury was convening. I remember this part because at first I thought it was out of place, but after thinking on it for a second I realized it blended in perfectly. The movie also used a lot of non-diegetic sounds, like when the children were walking through the woods after the pageant, there was a lot of little parts of the music that got you anxious and wondering what was going to happen. There were also a lot of close-ups on people like Atticus, Tom Robinson, Scout, and Bob Yule’s daughter, especially during the courtroom scenes.

Gregory Peck did an exemplary job as Atticus Finch. I believe he truly portrayed the humbleness and stoic power that Atticus exumes from his being. He really drives the point home, he is partially what makes this movie so great. Mary Badham also did a very good job as Scout. She really portrayed the pureness and naivete of a child of six. Although, sometimes her voice gets kind of annoying.

There weren’t really any special effects. Although, I do have to admit, Scout dressed up as a ham was completely hilarious.

So, this movie was gorgeous. It really struck a chord with me, especially the part where Tom Robinson was weeping, and he cried out “I did not Touch Her”! That part almost brought me to tears.

I give this movie a 5/5 paws: Devour It

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1 Comment

One Response to “‘Mockingbird’ challenges racial injustice”

  1. Chevy on September 18th, 2015 8:54 pm

    ‘Watchman’ challenges racial equality

    At the Open House on September 15th, 2015, Mr. B-G emphasized that “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1960) would be a big part of the 9th grade English syllabus in his class. I was going to e-mail him this question, but the article in the South Hadley Student Press gives me a chance to pose it generally to all in our high school community: will there be any discussion of “Go Set A Watchman” (2015), which is not technically a sequel because, although it was set later, it was written earlier?

    Certainly, the movie with Gregory Peck has become an American classic, beloved universally by all who have seen it, myself included. The problem with the controversial new novel is that it tarnishes the image of Atticus Finch. Can high school kids deal with this and reconcile the two vastly different portrayals of the same character? Does Finch evolve into someone different, abandoning the heroism (idealism) of his younger self? These are questions that many of the parents of the students at the high school have had to deal with as we age and grow “wiser”.

    Food for thought,

    Chevy

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