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In the film industry, movies pose various dilemmas to the audience making it difficult for them to judge situations ethically or unethically. One of the main dilemmas is between the utilitarian theory and the Kantian theory. Two theories pose an immense dilemma to viewers of different films when they are present in a film. An excellent example to show this dilemma is the film Boomerang by Ella Kazan. In this film, all characters in the story pose an immense dilemma to the audience in deciding and judging a person, due to actions he or she is about to take or consequences of actions he or she has taken. Therefore, an analysis of the utilitarian and Kantian using the film ‘Boomerang’ has been done.

Utilitarian theory states that people should follow those actions that produce maximum happiness in the end (West, 2003). This theory is globally used because people look up to those actions that tend to create happiness to all people in the end. According to utilitarian theory, a person must first consider the audience actions are directed. Second, positive and negative effects of alternative actions must be considered. Finally, a person must consider the action that is going to produce the most happiness as compared to other alternatives. Therefore, it can be noted that utilitarian theory judges a person from actions he or she takes. In this case, judgments are made after performing actions from consequences (West, 2003).

Kantian theory states that people should first consider their actions before performing them (Wood, 2008). In this case, people are not supposed to consider whether actions will provide maximum happiness. For instance, people are not supposed to commit murder, even if it is going to produce maximum happiness to everyone (Wood, 2008). According to kantian theory, people are supposed to put other people first before putting their own personal gains. In this case, it is worth noting that Kantian theory considers actions before performing them. In this situation, this theory does not consider righteousness or wrongfulness of an action, but the power to fulfill a duty (Wood, 2008).

The film ‘Boomerang’ begins where a priest is short died. The police start gathering evidence, so that they can apprehend the culprit, but they come to a dead end. They are not able to catch the killer. The public and the politicians start accusing the police of being incompetent in performing their duties (Rochemont & Kazan, 1947). Pressure starts to mount on the police chief to make an arrest. Finally, they apprehend John Waldron for the murder of the priest. At first, the police do not have enough evidence to prosecute him. For this reason, they have interrogated him to a confession. They torture him continuously until he confesses. However, Harvey the prosecutor is not convinced that Waldron is the killer. This is because of methods that were used to get the confession. This leads the case to being dismissed in the court (Rochemont & Kazan, 1947).

According to the film, politicians, the public and the police are using the utilitarian theory to solve the conflict. To begin with, politicians are pressuring the police so that they can make everybody happy. Politicians are concerned with happiness of the public in apprehending the killer (Rochemont & Kazan, 1947). They do not care about techniques the police are applying when they want to catch the murderer. In this case, they are only concerned with the outcome of actions taken by the police. This behavior can be compared to the utilitarian theory where it only concentrates on results that produce maximum happiness (West, 2003). In this case, politicians want the maximum happiness of everyone.

The other character using utilitarian theory in the film is the police chief, Robinson. Robinson is succumbing to pressure from politicians and he has to do something so that he could solve the case and catch the murderer. In this case, Robinson has the opportunity of apprehending a culprit, but they do not have the evidence to link him to the murder (Rochemont & Kazan, 1947). For this reason, he is ready to use any method until the culprit confesses. Therefore, they torture him by making him stay for sleepless nights and hungry. Finally, the culprit succumbs and confesses. This makes politicians and the public happy. According to the utilitarian theory, the conflict is judged by results of actions. These actions must provide maximum utility (West, 2003). In this situation, Robison only cares about results of his actions that will make people happy.

On the other hand, the prosecutor, Harvey, advocates for Kantian theory. According to the film, Harvey is not satisfied that Waldron is the killer. This is because the evidence against Waldron is not enough to show that he was guilty. Additionally, Harvey does not approve methods the police were using to interrogate Waldron to get a confession from him. Harvey believes that Waldron succumb to torture the police were using (Rochemont & Kazan, 1947). This is because Waldron only wants the torture to stop. In this case, he tells them what he wants them to hear. This is extremely inhuman and unethical of the police as Waldron thinks. Kantian theory states that people should consider actions before they start performing them (Wood, 2008). Therefore, Harvey is considering actions of the police and not results.

The ethical dilemma that is portrayed in the film is methods to use to catch criminals in order to make everybody happy. According to the film, politicians and the public do not care about methods the police are using to catch the murder. All what they want is the murderer to be brought into justice (Rochemont & Kazan, 1947). On the other hand, it is extremely inhuman for the police to torture a person, so that they can gain a confession. This is because they are likely going to arrest the wrong person and yet these will make many people happy (Rochemont & Kazan, 1947). Catching a criminal is ethical but torturing a criminal to get the wrong information is unethical.

Therefore, based on two theories, Kantian theory proves to be the most moral and ethical theory to follow. This is because it is advocating human rights and apprehending the right murderer. In case of utilitarian theory, it did not work because the detective caught the wrong criminal. On the other hand, Kantian shows that considering actions first before performing them always deliver excellent results. For this reason, Kantian theory proves to be an excellent theory for the moral judgment.

Conclusion

Based on the above analysis, it is extremely difficult to judge a dilemma. When a person is watching a film, certain moral issues arise in the film creating a conflict in the viewer’s mind. For instance, the movie Boomerang possesses an immense ethical dilemma to viewers who are watching it. Everybody wants the culprit to be apprehended. The police are using all resources and techniques to catch the criminal. The public and politicians are pressuring the police to catch the murder. When they do, they use torture to get a confession. It turns out that he was not the murder. He was only confessing to end the torture. In this case, using the utilitarian theory and the Kantian theory, viewers can be able to judge for themselves the moral or ethical decisions to follow in the movie.

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