Monday, 1 September 2008

Film Review – The Village (2004)

This wasn't mentioned on the list of stuff to come, mostly because I hadn't decided to write it then. They are still coming (a few are written but i've had internet problems!)

I was re-watching this film the other day and its criminological aspects struck me. Here we have in the film a group of people who have had family members who have been victims of horrific crimes and have taken upon themselves to live in isolation. ‘The Village’ is the ultimate gated community.
Of course, living in a gated community is only an option for the rich, with its private security. During the film we find out that the village ‘leader’ (although decisions seem to be made in a council of elders) came from a wealthy family and was able to enclose a large woodland area with the valley containing the village in the middle, pay for a security firm to protect woods, and bribe the government to create a no-fly zone over the woods.
Of course, in their desperate attempt to evade crime, crime finds them. Not only several characters cross over into the forbidden woods, but there is a stabbing in the village that is the catalyst for the secrets of the village being revealed.
Indeed there is a certain tension between the elders and their children over the arbitrary rules they have created to seclude the village. Indeed in their quest to avoid crime and live a simple life they are hooked up in a web of deception, having to instill fear in their children to avoid them venturing into the woods (and hence possibly revealing the existence of the village to the outside world).
Of course, no place like that could remain secret forever. For a start their financial resources can last only so long to maintain their protection. Then there is the question of accidental discovery too. All in all, one cannot run away from crime forever – only dealing with its material root causes can one have the hope of a crime free existence.


Vicky said...

I remember this as being quite a good film, everyone had worked out the twist in the plot a long time before me...

Soapsoane said...

This is really interesting and touches on some recent posts on Bent Society. The murders and suicide of Colin Foster the millionaire who felt 'the spectre of poverty' (and had absorbed the media view of the shame and exclusion of being 'poor' in Britain) and really felt he had NO choice but to end everything for his family.

This also touches on the whole idea of lies and being able to articulate your own story.

It strikes me that our whole judicial system seems to operate against expression and admission of guilt, restitution and rehabilitation in that the legal 'story' of a crime and the 'truth' seem miles away from each other and there sem to be a whole range of vested interests in the system not hearing the true story of the 'social conditions of the production of a crime'.

We'd rather hear the commodified sensational stories of 'The Ripper' the 'Killers of Jamie Bolger' the 'Youth Suicides in Merthyr Tydfil' and yet another tale of 'Youth Knife and Gun Crime' as an individual psycho-and sociopathic tendency rather than a result of a culture that is increasingly lived in isolation and fantasy...

What do you think?

Leftwing Criminologist said...

it's a tendency to 'psychologise' everything we seem to have putting the fault with individuals rather than a social system.

the thing for me about this film is that no matter what resources you may have (economic, perosnal, whatever) you are still affected by the society around you - the only way you can escpae is ala Colin Foster.

as for the legal system, leave that one with me - its something i know far too little about.

ps. do you have a blog?