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Malcolm X - Essay Example

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Movie Report Malcolm X, the film by Spike Lee, is based upon a Muslim- American (Malcolm X)’s life history. Lee makes use of flashback technique to unearth the most important happenings in Malcolm X’s life in the mainstream society. Besides, Lee provides ample importance to social criticism based upon crime, racism, religious conversion and emotional/mental trauma originating from family problems…
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Malcolm X
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Download file to see previous pages A. Emotional/mental trauma The film portrays the emotional/mental trauma felt by Malcolm "Detroit Red" Little (later known as Malcolm X) in his personal life. One can easily identify that the grass root level reason behind his earlier life as criminal was the problems in his personal life. One can see that untimely death of his father affected his development as a child. Besides, his mother’s status as a single parent eventually led to metal illness and its after-effects. So, emotional/mental trauma felt by Malcolm is the integral part of the film. B. Crime Crime is not the main theme of the film because the film aims to unveil Malcolm’s transformation from a criminal to a religious reformer and a leader. But Malcolm’s earlier life was interconnected with crime and incarceration. So, the director did not neglect Malcolm’s earlier life as a criminal. Reynolds points out that “The film moves back and forth in time, showing how the brutality affecting Malcolm’s family history is internalized through his transformation into “Red” the gangster” (64). To be specific, economic problems forced him to lead the life of a criminal. For instance, in the film, Malcolm and his friend conducted a robbery, which ultimately led them towards incarceration. C. Racism The director makes use of an indirect way to introduce the theme of racism in the film. Malcolm’s life in the prison, especially his friend’s influence, is significant in educating him on racism. But Baines (Malcolm’s friend) utilizes the chance to attract him towards Islamic faith, not to fight against racism and related issues. In the end, Malcolm was ready to change his views on racism because religious conversion did not help him to solve his problems. D. Religious perspective Malcolm’s transformation from a criminal to a religious leader did not help him much to reform his community. To be specific, his transformation as the member of the Nation of Islam and the follower of Elijah Muhammad limited his scope as a social reformer. For instance, his views on racism were influenced by Islamic ideology. In the film, his increased influence among the members of the Nation of Islam forced Elijah Muhammad to turn against him in the end. Character sketches Malcolm X, Betty X, Baines and Elijah Muhammad are the most important characters in the film. A. Malcolm X (Denzel Washington): Malcolm X is the protagonist of the film and almost all the characters revolve around this character. Besides, the protagonist’s transformation from a criminal to a religious/ social reformer is the most important factor behind the development of the plot. Lee provides ample importance to the character of Malcolm because this character represents the historical development of religious/ social reformation in the mainstream society. B. Betty X (Angela Bassett ) In the film, Betty X is Malcolm X’s wife. But she does not have any particular influence upon her husband. Her role in the film is overshadowed by Malcolm’s character. From a different angle of view, Malcolm’s wife is entrapped within her domestic domain. Within this context, her role was to look after her children, not to influence her husband. In some situations, she acted the role of a medium for Malcolm to communicate with his followers. For instance, when he was in Mecca, he used his wife as a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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