Guilty Conscience

THX 1138 and Black Mirror took a minimalistic approach to get their point across. Both stripped down everyday life to mundane work filled with short-term pleasures. One of the most interesting parts in Black Mirror is the plight of the hero and the biggest choice he has to make that will affect his future.

At the end of the movie, the main character is left with the choice to go back and ride the bike, or exploit himself and live the good life. One movie that does a good job of analyzing this dilemma is A Bronx Tale. In summary, A Bronx Tale was about a boy, Calogero, who grew up with two father figures. His real father, Lorenzo, was a bus driver who represented the working class. The other role model was the local crime boss, Sonny, who represented the wealthy class. Like almost everyone, Calogera chooses to spend most of his time with Sonny, learning and experiencing the pros and cons of both worlds.

The Working Class

Calogero: Sonny was right. The working man is a sucker.

Lorenzo: Get up every day and work for a living! Let’s see him try that! We’ll see who’s really tough. The working man is tough. Your father’s the tough guy!

In this case, one of the pros to the working class is the worth ethic and respect. It is extremely difficult to get up everyday, go to work, and struggle to provide for the family. So to do this for fifty plus years, there is pride that the working man has in himself. Besides pride, there is honor in sticking to your principles by not taking the illegal/fast way to make money. In Black Mirror, it is the same case. Even though, no one will blame Bing and Abby, for choosing to exploit themselves, they would be more respectable if they stuck to their principles.

Besides the obvious of financial and physical cons, another downside is the small-mindedness of the lower class. Usually racial and other types of discriminations are prevalent. Because of circumstances, most people growing up in working class families are not exposed to other parts of the country, and fall victim to the culture and beliefs of the group they are stuck in.

The Upper Class

Calogero: This guy “Louie Dumps” owes me 20 dollars. It’s been two weeks now, and every time he sees me he keeps dodging me. He’s becoming a real pain in the ass. I mean, should I crack him one or what?

Sonny: What’s the matter with you? What have I been telling you? Sometimes hurting somebody ain’t the answer. Is he a good friend of yours?

Calogero: No, I don’t even like him.

Sonny: Well there’s your answer right there. Look at it this way… It costs you 20 dollars to get rid of him. He’s never gonna bother you again. He’s never gonna ask you for money again. He’s out of your life for 20 dollars. You got off cheap. Forget it.

Looking at a scene from A Bronx Tale, one of the biggest pros is perspective, by not being overwhelmed by the small stuff. Throughout the movie, Sonny gives Calogero advice and insight that his father can’t provide him. To be wealthy, a person has to be on the forefront with society, current events, and technology. This continual growth is definitely valuable. In Black Mirror, the judges know how to make money. They make the most out of an average singer, and take advantage of the latest trend like Bing’s emotional collapse.

The Downside is the new set of problems that riches create in additional to the problems that everyone faces.

 Calogero: Don’t you trust anybody?

Sonny: No.

Colagero: It’s a horrible way to live.

Sonny: For me it’s the only way.

Colagero: Not for me, not for me

In the Bronx tale, Sonny is always in fear for his life, and in most cases it is only a matter of time before you reach your fate. In Black Mirror, both Bing and Abby lost their reputation. At the end of the movie, both characters take an introspective look. Calogero leaves the funeral and concludes, “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent. And the choices that you make will shape your life forever.” He then has to choose how he will live the rest of his life. Bing on the other hand stares into nature is his new house. His problems still exist but now he lives in a bigger house.


~ by digitalamericathebeautiful on February 7, 2012.

One Response to “Guilty Conscience”

  1. Interesting. Explain why you think that the values of traditional class and labor carry over to the minimalist futures of THX and Black Mirror?

    Even though, no one will blame Bing and Abby, for choosing to exploit themselves, they would be more respectable if they stuck to their principles.

    To whom would they be more respectable? The viewer or their peers?

    I appreciate the comparison between the sci-fi and “A Bronx Tale” but I’m not convinced beyond a superficial level. In the sci-fi we watched the whole idea of work was totally different from what it is in “A Bronx Tale.” In Black Mirror you don’t do anything for anyone in particular except your avatar.

    Do you think that Bing is happy at the end?

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