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How does Peter Medak gain the viewer's sympathy for Derek Bentley in the film 'Let him have it!' ?

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Media Coursework Essay Question: How does Peter Medak gain the viewer's sympathy for Derek Bentley in the film 'Let him have it!' ? Peter Medak (Medak) chose to make this film because it had an interesting story line. Medak might have wanted to prove that the justice system makes mistake and sometimes those mistakes cannot be fixed, like the mistake or the Derek Bentley (Bentley) and Christopher Craig (Craig) case, where someone was hanged for a miss interpretation of evidence. Film directors like Medak use bias as their strong point; it keeps the viewers attention on the movie and begins to get the viewers to imagine what they would do in the situation. The film is set in the 1950's Britain. Bentley and Craig, two teenagers, are on the roof of a factory in south London. Seen by a local people, police are called. During the raid Bentley is caught and placed under custody while Craig attempts to fight the police. When Craig is approached by the police and asked to hand the gun over, Bentley purportedly yelled 'let him have it'. The controversy lies that Craig misunderstood Bentley and thought he meant that he should pull the trigger. Craig the one who fired the gun was given ten years, as he was only sixteen and underage. ...read more.


This automatically makes you question why it had to be him and not someone without an illness. During the blitz is not the only time we feel sorry for Bentley. During his time in approved school, not aware of what he was doing due to his mental age, he is caught stealing food with his friends. The caretaker shines light into his eyes that triggers his epilepsy and he has a fit. When hid father is called in to the school, Bentley is sat outside the office listening to the conversation about him, this brings a emotion of sadness into his eyes, the viewers feel his pain. This is bias as Medak purposely done this for us to sympathise with Bentley and to feel his sadness. Just before Bentley follows Craig onto the roof of the factory in south London , the camera zooms into Bentleys face, we can see fear in his eyes. We can tell from his face that he doesn't want to do it. When he climbs up the pipe, he looks down for a split second; we see his face get a shock. With the mentality age of a eleven year old Bentley is facing fears beyond his age. ...read more.


After the trial the press is a big issue, as most of the country was astonished at the sentence. Many people campaign against the sentencing, but the home secretary was bias and understood only one thing, a police officer had been killed and someone had to go down for it. His family had appealed against the sentencing; they would get the news on the day of the hanging at 8am. Bentley's father was told pardon would be discussed after the hanging. We feel sympathy for Bentley's father here as no father would be able to stand there being told his son would be hanged. The execution lasted a very short time, we feel sympathetic towards Bentley, as he is confused at the speed of everything. Within a few seconds he is already dead. Bentley was hopeless; he couldn't do anything to save his life. I believe Medak had a message in this movie and it was to show that the justice system is not always just. He proved that no one could decide to take someone's life. Medak was successful in delivering this message; he showed the life of someone who always followed someone else. This is a common situation in modern days. Peer pressure puts many in danger today. Medak must have had strong feelings about the death sentence and he portrayed that through Derek Bentley outstandingly in this film. ...read more.

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