Compare and Contrast “In Cold Blood” to “The Untouchables”





Compare and Contrast “In Cold Blood” to “The Untouchables”

“In Cold Blood” is a film by Truman Capote that features Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, two criminals on a heist that goes horribly wrong and ends with the death of the Clutter family. Ultimately, they are arrested and Hickock pins all the crimes on his partner, Smith. They are both found guilty and hanged (Edwards, Roberts, Kaplan, and Truman 17). Conversely, “The Untouchables” is a film by Brian De Palma that narrates the life of Al Capone, a notorious criminal and Elliot Ness, the officer awarded the job of stopping Capone (De, Linson & Mamet 19). After a series of violent shootouts and corrupt activities between the attorneys, police officers and Capone’s gang members, Al Capone is convicted to serve 11 years in prison. The theme of violence clearly manifests itself in both films albeit in different ways. The amount of raw violence depicted “In Cold Blood” is a pale shadow to that depicted in “The Untouchables.” “In Cold Blood” shows the horrific death of the Clutter family and their two teenagers at the hands of Smith and Hickock (Edwards et al. 45). This is a relatively violent scene but is easily overshadowed by the violent scene in “The Untouchables.” This mob action film contains bloody scenes and massacres of valiant and sensitive characters, mainly in gory shootings involving headshots. In one of the scenes, an infant is killed by a bomb explosion while in another scene, a baby carriage becomes a near target for shooters. One of the popular scenes that allow the audience to witness Capone’s violent nature is when he pounds a character to death using a baseball bat (De et al. 56). Apart from this, the film also has numerous instances of vulgar language accompanied by drug abuse.

Social justice is clearly expressed in both films in a way that improves their quality, plot, and delivery. “In Cold Blood,” the Clutter family represents the victims while the two criminals stand for the corrupt face of society. From the start until halfway through the film, little social justice is realized for the family (Edwards et al. 60). However, towards the end, the penitentiary system finally corners them by dismissing their psychological testimonies, a decision that eventually leads to their conviction. After the family is murdered horribly, the audience has the feeling of injustice but this is rectified by the director’s twist to convict the perpetrators (Edwards et al. 104). Conversely, in the film “The Untouchables,” the theme of social justice is clear (De et al. 89). Al Capone has managed to terrorize the whole of Chicago city through oppression, murder, and extortion. The rest of the society is terrified of the imminent actions of Al Capone’s criminal syndicate (De et al. 156). This unjust situation continues until the team of law enforcers stepped in an attempted to restore justice. In the end, Elliot Ness and his team eventually manage to restore justice in the society when they ensure that the mafia boss is convicted for over a decade.

The last theme that strengthens the delivery of the producer’s expertise is the way tragedy is included. Capote concludes “In Cold Blood” by orchestrating the execution of Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. Before this, the whole Clutter family had been horribly assassinated in their house (Edwards et al. 125). All these are instances of tragedy that are professionally delivered using a somber mood, mellow organ music, and low lighting. Similarly, Brian De Palma ensured that tragedy was clearly delivered using the protagonists (De et al. 145). The number of people that Al Capone killed during his reign was countless. It was not only the number but also the manner in which the crime boss horribly bludgeoned his victims that was shown to the audience. The director along with the video effects crew was responsible for ensuring these ghastly and inhuman acts were illustrated effectively.


Works Cited

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De, Palma B, Art Linson, David Mamet, Kevin Costner, Charles M. Smith, Andy Garcia, Niro R. De, Sean Connery, Stephen H. Burum, Ennio Morricone, and Eliot Ness. The Untouchables. Hollywood, Calif: Paramount, 2004. Film.

Edwards, Anthony, Eric Roberts, Jonathan Kaplan, and Truman Capote. In Cold Blood. 2014. Film.

Lehman, David. The Perfect Murder: A Study in Detection. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2008. Print.

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