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'Let Him Have It' film review.

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Introduction

'Let Him Have It' was a film produced in 1991. The film is directed by Peter Medak and screenplay is by Neil Purvis and Robert Wade. It is 115 minutes long and is in full colour. The main character, Derek Bentley, is acted by Christopher Eccleston. The movie is a true story, based in post-war (1950's) London about a 19 year old boy wrongly hanged for murder. Derek Bentley is an easily led boy with a low I.Q. When he is accused of a murder which he did not commit, he is manipulated by the jury which results in him being hanged on the 28th January, 1953. Since then his innocence has been proven. In this piece I will consider all the aspects of the opening four scenes that make Bentley appear in a sympathetic light. I will look at camera angles, music and how other media devices have been used, as well as how characters are portrayed. Different techniques are used in the opening scene to create sympathy for Derek Bentley. First of all, during the opening credits we hear sirens and panic before we see anything. ...read more.

Middle

This sympathy is enhanced by the camera moving in on Bentley's eyes, so the audience feels like they're looking straight at him. Meanwhile, the background music is the same as that of the opening scene, this begins a theme of Derek being unlucky. In the 3rd scene of the opening sequence Derek and his Father are in Kingswood Reform School discussing, with the headmaster, Derek's progress and behaviour. Our first impression as a viewer in the scene: the high dark, mysterious corridors where there is a very daunting and hostile atmosphere, creating tension around Derek. As the camera focuses on Derek himself, we see him hunched up in the corner almost in the foetal position. This shows that he is nervous and sorry for what he did and certainly does not work to rebel against authority. The headmaster talks of Derek's low intelligence and the fact that he is easily led. This shows that Bentley's actions are not out of malice or mischief, but merely a lack of thought and understanding. Derek's Father is very protective of his son. He claims that Derek was always brought up to tell the truth and he promised that he was "just playing". ...read more.

Conclusion

He switches on the radio and the track, 'Wheel of Fortune' plays. Derek appears so innocent, engrossed in the music, dancing stiffly. Again, this makes Derek appear child-like in that he is satisfied with something so simple. Also, there is an element of irony in this sequence as the song he is listening to is about luck, which Derek certainly seems to have little of. The main and most effective technique to make Derek Bentley appear in a sympathetic light, used throughout the opening scenes were the way that Derek's personality was portrayed. Derek always appeared quiet and withdrawn, which I believe created sympathy very well. I've learned from this film how unfair the British justice system was, that an innocent young man could be hanged just because of a manipulative jury! I believe that capital punishment should only be used in extreme cases. For example, people who have cruelly killed children e.g. Myra Hindley. I don't even believe that if Derek Bentley was guilty he would deserve to be hanged for such a crime. I also realise that I, living in the 21st century, will have a much different perspective on capital punishment and the whole Bentley case, having grown up in a capital punishment-free country/society. Grant Macdonald ...read more.

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