Film and Law


The movies “Hot Fuzz” and “Die Hard” are illustrations oflegal films that feature the policeman as an archetype character. Thecharacters are perfectly distinguished from others in the movie owingto their heroic roles.

In “Hot Fuzz” Nicholas Angel acts as the protagonist. He isdepicted as an expert policeman due his ability to solve crimes, andimpeccable arrest record. Following Angel’s transfer to Stanfordhis enthusiasm on the job reduces because the city does not have asmany crimes as London. However, a sequence of accidents in Stanfordmakes it possible for Angel to act out his role as a policeman(Wright). In “Die Hard” the protagonist is John McClane who is apolice officer from New York town. He flies to Los Angeles, where hissupposed wife has relocated to with the intention of reconcilingtheir union. However, during the visit, terrorists take hostage of abuilding where John’s wife works. It is through his attempt to savehis wife that his policeman character becomes apparent all throughthe movie (Wiseman et al).

Character Comparison and Contrast

There are numerous similarities in the portrayal of these policemencharacters in both movies. In both films, the characters are depictedas important. Extreme long shots are employed with the intention ofcreating suspense for the oncoming character. Angel and McClane arethe protagonists, but the viewer is unaware of this as the filmbegins. By using long shots, the viewer anticipates to see theindividuals that will be portrayed on the screen. It can only meanthat the role of the characters is extremely important in the film.The effect of the long shot is enhanced by the use of lighting. Thecharacters are silhouettes, which makes them appear powerful. Whenintroducing the character Angel, a long shot and lighting effect isused to demonstrate his approach as the movie starts. It is possibleto hear the sound made by his shoes, which enhances suspense.Similarly, long shots have been used to demonstrate the arrival ofMcClane from the moment the plane lands.

The characters are portrayed as fast paced individuals. This is bestillustrated through their placement in the frame. The camera shotsare to the point, but demonstrate a lot of action. In specific, atthe start Angel is quick to note that he attended a police trainingcollege and has a lot of prowess in field activities. As he talksabout his experience, there have been other different camera shots.Similarly, when McClane arrives, the camera shots shift from theChristmas preparations, the landing of the plane, and his arrivallater inside a taxi. The opening is aimed at depicting the fast-pacedaction that is characteristic of police officers. In addition, theshifts increase the eventfulness of the scenes that follow.

The characters have been portrayed as serious, which can beattributed to their role as policemen. Using surrounding acts, it ispossible to highlight the characters faces. Angel has a stern facialexpression, which is a depiction of the nature as well as attitudeassociated with his character. His facial appearance does not seem tochange even when compared to the image on his badge and in real life.This demonstrates that he is a serious individual. Although, McClaneis not out rightly depicted as a serious individual during hisinteraction with other individuals in the plane, once in the limo itis clear that he is a serious character. His postures and expressionsmake it apparent that he is only focused on what has brought him toLos Angeles. He sits beside the driver instead of sitting at the backof the limo and demonstrates disinterest in communicating with thedriver. The facial expressions depicted by the characters enhance theseriousness of an archetypal policeman.

Both films employ both non-diegetic as well as diegetic sound, whichincreases the action and fast pace of the characters. There isnon-diegetic voiceover by the characters, which is in line withnon-diegetic musical play that commences with loud rhythmical beats.When progressing into the action filled scenes, it is possible tohear the sounds of other individuals that results in the creation ofa chaotic surrounding.

A major difference between the two characters is in costuming. Angelis depicted in proper police clothing. The close up shot of his shoesis a resemblance of formality as they are shiny. He walks formallyand has an ECU on his clothing. These are signs of professionalism,which are reflective of features of his archetype as a policeman. Onthe contrary, McClane is dressed casually probably because he is noton duty, but on a personal trip. However, it is clear that he is apoliceman because as part of his clothing, he does not forget tocarry a gun. We get to realize that he is carrying a gun when it isaccidentally spotted by one of the passengers in the plane, andMcClane has to inform him that he is a policeman.

Characters Comparison to Real Life Counterparts

The major comparison between the characters to real life is the fastpaced life. Policemen are always on the move dealing with one issueor another. This is best illustrated by the characters that areincapable of staying in one position and are continuously engaged indifferent activities. In addition, the characters rarely associatewith other individuals as they are focused on their work. Thiscreates the perception that a policeman is a busy individual. It alsocreates the impression that policemen rarely have time to spare asthey are always engaged in their work. Hence, the legal system isviewed as a fast paced institution.

Another comparison derives from the level of professionalismdemonstrated by the characters and that of policemen in real life.When on duty, a policeman is always dressed professionally. However,when off-duty a policeman does not have to dress professionally, butmost carry their guns. The movie “Hot Fuzz” compares to usualpolice dressing as a depiction of professionalism when on duty. Thisis illustrated in the way Angel is fully clad in uniform that isshiny shoes and carries an ECU, which is an important tool forcommunication among police officers. Angel’s uniform ischaracteristic of that worn by modern day policemen. The portrayal ofpolicemen characters in film has an impact on how individuals viewthe legal system. In both films, the characters demonstrate adedication to solving crime. They arrive to crime scenes on time anddemonstrate an impeccable prowess hence, creating the perceptionthat the legal system is highly professional and dedicated to itswork.

Works Cited

Wiseman, Len., Moore, John., McTiernan, John., Harlin, Renny andBronzit, Konstantin, dir. Die Hard. Twentieth Century Fox,1988. Film.

Wright, E, dir. Hot Fuzz. Three Flavours Cornetto Trology,2007. Film.