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How does Peter Medak gain the viewers' sympathy for Derek Bently in the film

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Introduction

How does Peter Medak gain the viewers' sympathy for Derek Bently in the film "Let him have it"? Peter Medak gains sympathy for the character Derek Bently by showing his misfortune throughout the film. Derek Bently was wrongly executed. The film shows the mistakes of the decision and the dangers of capital punishment. Derek has epilepsy and isn't very intelligent. These factors are used to create sympathy for Derek and create a feeling that he isn't fully in control of himself. Because of his low intelligence, Derek gets into trouble. He is caught when his friends vandalise a shed and is sent to Kingswood Approved School. At nineteen Derek meets Christopher Craig who likes pretending to be a gangster, He uses Derek and gets them into trouble. Christopher goes mad when he and Derek are caught by the police and shoots a police officer, killing him. Derek was controversially hung for encouraging Christopher Craig to shoot the policeman. People have very strong views on capital punishment because many people who survive today to watch this film lived through times when capital punishment took place in this country so are reminded of something close to them. The film shows the effects of capital punishment, developing preconceived views which people have. ...read more.

Middle

The owner of the shed sees the boys and they run off but Derek is to slow and unable to escape. There is again low-key lighting to represent danger and tension. Derek is very scared and collapses into another fit. In 1951 Derek is released from approved school early because of his low intelligence. The scene in which Derek's father is told of this again provokes sympathy. While Derek's father and the headmaster discuss the matter, Derek is shown sitting outside the door silhouetted against the otherwise very low-key lighting. There is a close up of Derek's face with the voices of the headmaster and Derek's father in the background. Derek has a very empty and helpless expression on his face that makes viewers feel sorry for him. Derek was most vulnerable in his childhood which is why this period is used a lot to gain sympathy. When Derek and Christopher Craig are on the warehouse roof surrounded by police the viewer is made to feel sympathetic towards Derek because he didn't know that any trouble would come of what he was doing. He didn't realise the consequences. He attempted to persuade Christopher Craig not to go up onto the roof showing his innocence and inability to make his own decisions. ...read more.

Conclusion

This gives another sense of injustice and creates more sympathy for Derek. Then as the time of the execution approaches, Derek is quickly grabbed halfway through his prayer, which again is a symbol of unfairness. The scene of the execution is very quick and rushed. It is done this way to increase the dramatic impact and it could also be to show that the people involved in the execution don't feel right about it so want it to be over and done with as soon as possible. At the end of the scene there is a low angle shot of Derek hanging, dead. This is very hard hitting and upsetting because the viewer has got to know Derek's character so well. The viewer ends up knowing that what happened was very wrong and almost feeling angry with what happened. The film's message is that Derek Bently was wrongly executed and a lot of pain came out of it. Also in a broader sense I think it is saying that capital punishment is wrong or at least that the decision should be taken more seriously and the consequence should be taken into account. I think Peter Medak gets his message across successfully. He does very well in making the viewer think carefully about capital punishment and develop their views on the issue by making them feel a little of the emotion felt by those involved in an execution. ...read more.

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