Review Of The Film “Witness”

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Review Of The Film "Witness"

A young Amish boy called Samuel is witness to a brutal murder in a toilet at a train station. After a line up where Samuel does not identify the killer, he identifies a picture of an ex policeman, Mc Fee in a display cabinet at the police station. A policeman called John Book links him to the taking of barrels of the drug speed that had gone missing from police possession. John has to live with the Amish to escape Mc Fee. While he is living there he becomes increasingly fond of Rachel the mother of Samuel, but other Amish do not approve of the things he does while he is staying there. The way he handles problems by resulting to violence and the dancing with Rachel to the music from his broken down car. The Amish farm is then raided where John is staying, the raid carried out by Schaeffer and his men was to find Samuel as he is the only witness to the murder. Shortly after the raid John and the Amish decides he should return home and leave Rachel behind because they agreed that he and Rachel could never become a couple because they are very different people wanting to lead two incompatible lives.

"Witness" is set in two main places, the busy, modern and violent city of Philadelphia and the calm, traditional and old fashioned countryside of Pennsylvanian. They are geographically close together, but in other ways they are worlds apart. In the Amish settlement of the Pennsylvanian countryside, the Amish are one big community that binds together to help each other, the people are hardworking, efficient and manually skilled. The Amish lead strictly non-violent lives and will not result to violence under any circumstances. We the viewer can see this when the Amish are stopped in their carriages by teenage tourists, who spread ice-cream over some of the Amish faces, none of the Amish would retaliate but John fought back with violence, this demonstrates that the Amish will never resort to violence but John will always resort to violence to solve a problem. The Amish are also devoted to their religion, which involves not using any modern technology and wearing simple hand made clothes which do not include buttons only hooks and eyes, John makes fun of this by asking Rachel whether they are allowed "zippers".

The city of Philadelphia is a modern city; there are murders, drug dealers and other types of crime being committed all over the city. The streets are full of busy, litter throwing and hot-tempered people and angry impatient motorists during the day and at night the streets are full of violent drunks. The film highlights the differences in several different ways, the main way is when Samuel comes from Pennsylvanian to the city Philadelphia to visit his mother's sister. At the train station in Philadelphia Samuel is amazed with the modern train station and when he entres the toilet he finds himself witness to a brutal murder.

When you watch the film the first impressions of John Book is that he is a hard city policeman who will not give in to anyone and his prime objective is to catch the criminal. It is clear to see in the film that John does not respect the witnesses he deals with. We the viewers of the film can see this when John is holding Samuel the only eyewitness of the murder against his will, when Samuel is scared away from home, in contrasting surroundings to which he has ever experienced and had just witnessed a man being ferociously murdered. John did not respect the way the Amish lived or have any respect for their beliefs. John was only interested in Samuel as a witness to the murder. While John was holding Samuel witness to the murder he did very little to try and explain what was happening to him and his mother Rachel in order to make the process of finding the killer as painless as possible. Neither did John attempt to form any understanding of the situation which Samuel and his mother found themselves in.
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John's attitude to the Amish and their beliefs changes as the film progresses, at first John does not understand the Amish way of life and holds no respect for their culture, but as time goes on during his stay with the Amish, he learns about their way of life, begins to respect how they live and tries to fit in as best he could for the time he spends there. In this time John does not manage to abide by the basic rules the Amish have, like not using violence and not using a radio, as when John ...

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