Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Scarface vs. Blow

I chose to compare the lead characters in the movie Scarface and Blow to see what ideological concepts are being represented.
Scarface is a movie about a Cuban refugee, Tony Montana, in the 1980's. The movie shows his rise from poverty into a rich drug lord. The movie shows his conquests in the cocaine business, as well as his love life with a beautiful woman named Elvie. However, the movie ends with Tony being shot by his ex-associate's band of assassins.
The movie shows us many ideological concepts about foreigners. One of the first scenes in the movie, Tony has to kill someone in order to become a U.S. resident. This depicts Tony in a light that shows him as someone from another land far away that will do anything to become American. Also, as we see Tony rise to success through his drug business, he is typically depicted as a villain, not a hero. We see him killing people along the way, even his best friend and sister. As he begins to get addicted to the cocaine, we see him caring only for himself and his power, and disregarding his wife, who happens to be a gorgeous, thin, white woman. Although she is an addict herself, it is as if we sympathize with her because Tony treats her so badly and talks down to her. It is clear throughout the movie that although we want Tony to succeed because of his ambition, we still look at him as the villain and not the hero.

In comparison to the movie Blow, we see a huge contrast. Blow is about a man named George Jung who also becomes very rich in the 1980's due to his involvement in selling cocaine. Like Tony Montana, George marries a beautiful woman and eventually meets his demise in the end as well. However, some differences surface that show ideological representations. First, George is American, not foreign. And as we see him become a successful drug lord, it is as if we like him even though we know what he is doing is wrong. He is good-looking, with blonde hair and often shown smiling, whereas Tony has dark skin, dark eyes, and often has a hard look. Besides their appearances, their wives are very similar, yet very different. We see that Tony has an American wife who we sympathize with, whereas George has a Colombian wife who we grow to dislike. Although both wives use cocaine, the audience tends to dislike George's wife because she takes George's daughter away from him, another way in which we see a softer side to George; the fact he has a child. In the end, George goes to jail for his actions, although the audience feels a sort of sympathy for him. He decides to get involved one last time in the cocaine business in order to make a few dollars and take his daughter to California. He is busted, and ends up in prison. In the final scene, we have a dream sequence where George's daughter comes to visit him, although we learn this is untrue and she has never visited George ever in prison. Unlike Tony, George is someone we feel sort of bad for, whereas Tony is depicted as getting what he deserved.

Overall, Scarface and Blow are very similar, yet very different, and part of the reason is because of race. Although maybe not intentionally, these two characters raise different feelings in the viewers based upon their ethnicity, and not what they do.

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