Movie Analysis: “Goodfellas” and “A Clockwork Orange”

Goodfellas: a film on Juvenile Delinquency. The film “Goodfellas” by Martin Scorcese showcases the day-to-day life of a Mafia family. As compared to other mafia movies that focus on an individual character, Goodfellas showcased the mafia account as a whole, general point of view. The movie’s main character is Henry Hill, whose transition from a street scum to a mafia became the main plot of the story. All the other events were more in-depth analysis of the formation of a mafia family, its management, its initiation, and its ups and downs (Cannon, 1997).

Henry Hill dreamt of a mafia life. He spends time on the streets, looking at working-class people, thinking about their clothes, cars, and basically every luxury that he could dream about. For him, mafia is the only way to achieve a luxurious life. He started running errands for small time gangsters, until one time, Paul Cicero took him under his wing as his apprentice. He became Pauli’s sort of a right hand. As an apprentice, he has adopted some of the mafia ways, and came into liking it, getting accustomed with it.

Young Henry’s ways were never a good sight for his parents. They didn’t like him getting along with his gang that’s why they always fill him with arguments, telling him to get away from them. But he never listened to what they say. He liked the gangster life: he easily gained a following, using these people to scare others, thus gaining “respect” from many people. You are respected by a lot of people if they fear you, and that’s what Henry Hill wanted to earn. Henry failed his schooling, something that his parents never found out, since he put on some frighteners on the postman to make sure that the letters from the school never reaches his parents.

There came a time when Henry was arrested by the local police. He was investigated, asked who was with him, but he chose to put a tight lid in his lips. He never squirmed, even with the threats and the physical pains that they gave him. Unknowingly for Henry’s part, he has just completed the final part of the initiation; he is now officially a “goodfella.” He has been tested by the top leaders of the mafia family, including Pauli, James Conway, and Tommy DeVito.

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The following years were the “good times” for Henry. Money was flowing like water for him. The respect he was looking for back then is easily given to him at these good times; even the cops fear him and give him respect. At a certain point in his career, he met a fine young woman, Karen. This Jewish girl becomes his wife and bore of his kids after a few years. Meanwhile, Henry hasn’t given up on a life of a women and wine, wherein he has mistresses and keeps on going into nightclubs. Well, they can have anything they want in these “good times.”

The glory days came to an end when another member, Tommy, killed an important mafia member. Pauli and Henry wind up in jail, but their lives were merely affected: they’re respected even in prison. But his family suffered. Karen was deserted by the people she trusted because there is no more Henry to earn them respect. While in prison, Henry became addicted to drugs. This broke him to half the man he was before. It was then became his problem when he was finally released.

A Clockwork Orange. This is set in the future England, 30 years from the actual time that it was made. It revolves around the character of Alex de Large, age fifteen; a leader of a small group of gangsters, which calls themselves as “droogs.” His activities revolve around deriving pleasures from classical music, to raping various women, and ultraviolence – a random act of unjustified, extreme violence (Dirks, 1996).

Alex’ character is basically full of negative aspects, wherein he is used to abusing other people just for the fun of it. He is sent to school by his parents but chose to skip and not attend at all. He has an eccentric character which is justified by his terrarium and a pet boa named Basil. He also has an expensive audio system: a stereo sound deck that plays most of his classical recordings collection.

The reign of the evil Alex after an arrest: this was set-up by his droogs. He learns that the person they robbed died, leaving him as the only suspect for the crime, as a murderer, not just a robber. He was sent to prison with 14 years in his head. After two years, he was given a chance to be set free by means of a parole. This is through a deal: he will be a test subject of a certain Ludovico technique, wherein it was said to solve societal crimes. Because of that, he became incapable of violence, and also not able to touch naked women, and not being able to stand Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

When he was released, he has nowhere to go. His parents did not welcome him in their own house. While wandering in the streets of London, he encountered previous acquaintances. These people were oppressed by the evil Alex. Apparently, they have returned the favor and all attempted to kill him. They were assaulting him, and Alex is left with nothing to do but run. The Ludovico left him as a violence-free man, wherein he can’t fight back, even in self defense.

He came into the woods and came into a house of a writer. The writer discovered that it was Alex who has raped his wife and has beat him to a pulp. He then drugged Alex and planned to drive him insane by making Alex hear the Ninth Symphony in full blast. Alex decided to kill himself by jumping out of the window, but he did not succeed in killing himself. The movie came to an end with Alex returning to his old self, and a narration, telling that he was cured.

Characteristics of Juvenile Delinquents. Looking closely at how the movies portrayed these delinquents, it could be generalized that these delinquents exhibit certain characteristics different from their peers. These characteristics can be classified as either fundamental personality factors, mode of social interaction, or some background traits. It could then be seen as that this traits could be significant indicators of delinquent activity in a person. This is essential in finding out the sources or causes of certain delinquencies, thus making it easier or better to understand these people (Mason, 2004).

Fundamental personality factors are often seen as the major trait of a certain delinquent. They exhibit these traits in front of the people, unknowingly or knowingly, since it is their innate trait in them. These traits include hyperactivity, alcoholic tendency, and psychosis. They are often small in stature and of poor health conditions. These are more on the males than the occurrence in females.

Their outlook towards the society, or their social interactions could also be a proof of their delinquency. This is associated with bad temper or short temperedness, which is commonly found on most of the delinquents. The traits that are indicators of their social interactions can be unpopularity among peers, disruptive behavior is school, a difficult childhood as perceived by parents, violence towards others, and poor performance in school works and activities.

Theories of delinquency. The theory that could be applied in the movie “Goodfellas” was the Strain Theory. This is theory states that the conditions of a society which could be detrimental to the success or social status of a person could cause him to become a delinquent. In the movie, the young Henry Hill was transformed to become a juvenile delinquent because of his dream of becoming a mafia, because he wants to alleviate his position in life. He is living a poor life, that is why he was somewhat driven to live a life of a gangster. This is a solid manifestation of juvenile delinquency under Strain Theory (“Strain Theory”, 2001).

The theory that could be associated with the movie “Clockwork Orange” is the Self –Control Theory of Delinquency, proposed by Gottfredson (Welch, 1998). In this theory, it is stated that self control is the main theme in which crimes originates. It is not deterministic; hence the people who engage on these crimes seek a sort of gratification, a certain pleasure that is why they engage on various analogous behaviors. These behaviors that provide this short time pleasure or gratification are smoking, drinking, gambling, irresponsible sex and much more. These are commonly manifested by criminals, who are looking for that instant achievement of pleasure or gratification.

Causes of delinquency. In the movie “The Goodfellas,” as well as the “Clockwork Orange,” the main cause of his delinquency was his motivation to alleviate his social status from poor to a well-off person, and he views that the only way he can achieve it is through becoming a gangster. With this, he opened himself on becoming a juvenile delinquent. He didn’t attend school, he was involved in fights and other illegal activities, and he adapted the ways of the gangsters who was with him.

Analyzing this carefully, we could see that a cause for his delinquency was his social status: he was poor, and he didn’t want to stay that way. Another is the environmental factors that play on a person’s life. This is accounted by his frequent rendezvous with these gangsters, which is also the reason why he adapted a delinquent kind of lifestyle.

Juvenile Justice. Juvenile justice is a law in the justice system that deals with persons which are found to have committed crimes below the legal age which is 18 years old. This juvenile justice system is aimed towards rehabilitating these young criminals, since they are not yet of the right age, and assumed to be not in the right frame of mind. But they could relinquish their hold on these criminals depending on the weight of the crime, or the court waives to do so (Burns, 1994).

There is legislation for the protection, care, and custody of these children under their jurisdiction, since they are the ones that manage these legal concerns. People often deal with this delinquency problem by looking at the root of the problem: society and its components

The society shouldn’t rely on the authorities alone. They have a lot of other concerns that they may have little time to deal with juvenile delinquencies. The people should start with their own homes and see whether they have proper communication with their children. Another is making sure that the environment is safe, free from other factors that could elicit delinquency. If it still couldn’t be managed, then that’s the time we need professional help. The authorities are more than willing to help, especially if the people are cooperating with them. There should be partnership with the authorities and the locals in order to solve the problem of juvenile delinquency.
References:

Burns, K. S. (1994). Juvenile Justice System. from http://www.karisable.com/crpunyouth.htm

Cannon, D. (1997). GoodFellas (1990).   Retrieved April 8, 2007, from http://www.film.u-net.com/Movies/Reviews/GoodFellas.html

Dirks, T. (1996). A Clockwork Orange (1971) Retrieved April 8, 2007, from http://www.filmsite.org/cloc.html

Mason, T. (2004). The characteristics of delinquents. from http://www.timothyjpmason.com/WebPages/Deviance/Deviance4.htm

Strain Theory. (2001).   Retrieved April 8, 2007, from http://www.skidmore.edu/academics/english/courses/en205d/student7/anomie.html

Welch, K. (1998). Two Major Theories of Travis Hirschi.   Retrieved April 8, 2007, from http://www.criminology.fsu.edu/crimtheory/hirschi.htm

 

 

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