Why Film Matters to Studying Law
- Hollywood has been long obsessed with law, truth and justice.
- Films work by creating a slippage between what is cinematically represented as the essential truth and a lesser, limited or distorted truth that the law is able to grasp.
- The dramatic tension turns on the desire that the "whole truth" be revealed so that justice may be done.
Often, a heroic protagonist is able to save the day, stitching together the treads of law and justice through extra-ordinary perseverance and at great personal cost.
- Often the legal system is seen as beyond redemption (e.g., outlaw films where justice is in the hands of the characters).
Films provide insights into disciplinary "blind spots" that are missed by those participating in the legal system.
- Often legal reasoning is presented as analogous to scientific reasoning ... it is expected to aspire to the same standards of objectivity and coherence.
- The Insider invites us to consider the role of the legal system in the search for truth, how it constructs social meaning, and shapes perceptions (meaning making vs. truth finding).