|← American Feature Film||Movie Review of the Film "Xala" →|
Menace to the society is a movie that premiered in may 1993. Menace to the society was a movie that dramatized crime in urban setups. The movie features a poor young in the impoverished suburbs of Los Angels trying to abandon the temptations and the poverty that surrounds his life. The movie starts on a solemn mood with Cain Clawson, the protagonist with his favorite friend proceed to the local shopping store to purchase alcohol. The duo is treated with suspicion from the Korean couple who were store managers. Overwhelmed by uncertainty, the Korean couple orders the boys to pay and leave the premise. The scene spirals out of control when Cain goes to the counter to settle the bill. O-Dog draws his gun he shoots, and instantly kills the couple. Cain was surprised; he abandoned everything and signals his friend to flee because the law enforcers were fast approaching (Scot, & Hughes, 1993).
There is an apparent conflict in the film as presented in episode one. In as much as Cain loves his friends, he does not agree with their behavior. This is exhibited in the movie during a confrontation with the Korean couple. O-Dog appeared quite willing to kill the store’s owner and finally rob him. This is clearly shown in the movie when the store manager pressurized them to pay. Cain proceeded to the counter to settle the bill, but O-Dog was well prepared with his invisible gun ready to shoot. When Cain realized that his friend had killed the couple, he dropped whatever he had in his hands and signaled his friend to escape. His friend, on the other hand, robs the store owner and kills his wife.
The main character Cain is in considerable conflict with other people around him. In the flashback, the film features a young Cain with his parents in a life that is replete of drinking, parties, drugs and murder. The protagonist secretly dislikes such life, and through the film, Cain secretly plans to escape slum life for a better life in decent neighborhoods. There is a delightful distinction between what Cain prefers and what his parents prefer. His parents seem to enjoy the slum life. The film shows them in constant parties, drugs and violent crimes. They carefully plan and execute their plans without living behind any traces (Scot, & Hughes, 1993).
Definitions of subculture and counterculture
Counterculture as presented in the movie means norms and values of a cultural group. In the film, counterculture aspect featured to describe the basic ideals that a group of people holds dearly. The film gives an in-depth understanding of how poor people live in their poor neighborhoods. It shows how people in slums have accustomed to life that is full of violence drugs and parties. Majority of the slum dwellers lives in the life of drugs and crime. It is because of this background that Cain runs into constant trouble in his quest to escape slum life.
Based on the menace to society movie, subculture is a cultural subgroup that splits from the main group because of some factors. This subgroup is often regarded as a different group from the mainstream society. This is because subcultures have their unique ways of going about life. They have gotten unique trends, and a different mentality from the rest of the community. Subcultures are recognized by their unique style of dressing, music and behavior. Looking at the film, Cain was born and raised from a subculture that was characterized by drugs, partying and violent crimes. He hangs out with people of questionable characters. His friend O-Dog perfect fits into his subculture, Even though he is still a teenager. He carefully plans and successfully carries out a robbery with violence in a shopping store (Scot, & Hughes, 1993).
Primary culture is the knowledge and believes that are essential to a person. For instance, in the film, the rest of the society seem aligned to some believes. Primary culture in the United States society believes that in order for a person to be successful. He or she must be hard working, skilled and with admirable morals. A subculture manifests itself as a result of external influences like poor treatment from the rest community or neglect.
Folkways, mores and taboos
Folkways are described as accepted modes of behavior in the society. They are customs or conventions among the society. Folkways are considered as set standards of behavior that are socially accepted but not morally significant. For instance, in the movie menace to the society movie, members of both cultures believe in life that has no violence. The subculture and counterculture hate a life full of poverty and prefer to live in save neighborhoods. It is clear that even though Cain was born and bred in a subculture, he prefers a different life. He prefers a life that is free from drugs and violence that is why he considerably struggles to free himself from the manacles of his subculture.
Mores are values, norms, and virtues that are acknowledged by a given society. Mores according to the movie is considered as norms of morality. It is any accepted modes of behavior in the society. Mores are not legally binding; they are as a result of patterns of behavior that develop with time. In the film menace to the society, most people in slums are alcoholics and irresponsible parents. This is not compulsory in the society because every person is free to do as is pleased. Every adult in the United States is eligible to drink alcohol but, excessive drinking is against the United States mores and, therefore, a responsible person is not supposed to engage in excessive alcoholism (Scot, & Hughes, 1993).
A taboo is a strong social exclusion touching any area of human activity or customs. Taboos are forbidden or sacred founded on religious affiliations, moral judgment, or scientific believes. Any acts that would result in breaking a taboo is considered abhorrent in the society. Based on the film, leading a life full of violence and drugs is a taboo. Those who engage in search acts are regarded as abhorrent and outcasts.
Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism
Ethnocentrism is a predisposition that ones cultural or ethnic group is above others. It is a mentality where by a certain culture looks at the world from their own perspective. It is a belief that ones culture is the view point of everything and that it is a yard stick against which all other cultures are measured. Ethnocentrism has been portrayed in various scenes, in the movie. In the first scene, of the movie, Cain and his friend are treated with suspicion when they entered the shopping center. The Korean couple was uncomfortable with the presence of black, American boys in their premises. The film shows how the Korean shop managers eagerly requested the boys to clear their bill and leave their premise. The movie shows how black Americans are discriminated in the society. The other case of ethnocentrism in the movie is portrayed when black characters are arrested even when they have not committed any crime. There prejudice is the low enforcement system. The system discriminates against members of the black community.
Cultural relativism is a principle that provides that no culture or group of people is superior to others in terms of morals, law, and politics among other issues. It is a philosophy that provides that all cultural believes are equal, and the truth is equally valid. Under cultural relativism, all cultures need to coexist and live harmoniously side by side. This principle supports the concept of equal treatment before the state and all other authorities.
Social Message in the Movie
The movie brings out several social issues faced by both the affluent and the poor in informal slums. A number of differences and similarities have been highlighted in the movie concerning cultural issues in their setups. The director cleverly used various characters to enlighten the viewer on various social aspects concerning urban violence among the black, American community in the United States. The film connects the prevalent social problems faced by the black community to the continued systematic oppression by relevant authorities. The impact of the 1965 los angles riots was also highlighted in the movie. The author wanted to justify the use of such scenes to portray the inequality that has forced black Americans into the life of destitution (Scot, & Hughes, 1993).
It is as a result of oppression and isolation that blacks face in the United States has constantly pushed them to drugs, and violence. The director identifies an etiology within the progression of learning violent behaviors and destruction through social interactions. Through exposure to life full of drugs and murder, Cain eventually learns how to procure and sale drugs safely. Cain never had appropriate parenting; he was a victim of irresponsible parenthood. He never had a chance to go to college and, therefore, he could not get a decent job. Despite the fact that he wanted to lead a righteous life, this was not possible for him. He was sucked into slum life and became a drug dealer just like everyone around him