Casablanca: Commitment to the Greater Cause - A Film critique

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        In today’s society, the idea of commitment to a larger cause is rare and infrequent.  Today’s movies celebrate the anti-hero, the kind to chose love over something beneficial to a society.  However, there was once a time when there was a cause that meant more.  In the classic and unforgettable film Casablanca (1942) Rick, an American Café owner, played by Humphrey Bogart, is a real hero.  He is willing to give his love away to fight for the French resistance.  This film reflects perfectly, Rick’s commitment issues and his eventual choice to fight for the greater cause, freedom and democracy.  Although his struggle is long and hard, Rick eventually comes to the right decision.  This struggle is emphasized through the setting, music, costumes, and even camera movement.

In the beginning of the film, the setting is mainly Rick’s Café Americain, which is a bar, and gambling area.  Everyone in the café is from differently nationalities and speak different languages.  This setting reflects Rick’s home and lifestyle.  Rick is disengaged and considered to have a neutral viewpoint towards the war.  He has no commitment to anyone or anything.  The fact that he won’t even share drinks with his customers, shows his unwillingness to open himself up to the world.  However, when Ilsa, his lost lover, played by Ingrid Bergman, enters with her husband Victor Laszlo, an underground resistance movement leader, Rick’s character is immediately transformed.  He instantaneously becomes attached to the situation and ends up sharing drinks with the couple.  By the end of the film, the setting has moved from the café to an airport, where Rick gives his exit visas to Victor and Ilsa.  Rick’s selling of the café and the setting in the airport represent his new state of mind and his willingness to commit to a cause and finally leave Casablanca.  Overall, Rick’s commitment is developed through the setting of this film.

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        Although Rick does finally commit to the greater cause, which is the right thing to do, he does struggle with the issue.  The costumes and props show this struggle and movement throughout the film.  At the opening, every character is dressed in their appropriate outfits; the soldiers where their uniforms and Rick wears his tuxedo.  However, by the end of the film, a slight change from light wear to heaving jackets, show Rick’s feelings and emotions towards the situation.  He knows he must support the resistance, even if it means leaving his love.  The heavy jackets reflect the weather getting ...

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