Touch of Evil
The film “Touch of Evil , mostly recognized as a meaningless gangster film , but truly one of the masterpieces of the noir genre , depicts with unnerving mastery a number of difficult social themes . For this , I have chosen to analyze the transformative identities of Quinlan and Vargas , who are both antagonists and mirrors of each other in this movie
Quinlan and Vargas are both cops , they both pursue justice – however they have a slightly different definition of it . They represent two sides of the dilemma of who is in his power to do [banner_entry_middle]
something to right a wrong : the cop or the law ? Is it better to let the guilty go free , or risk framing a few innocents ? Quinlan firmly believes that a cop can be judge , jury and executioner . Vargas is a starry-eyed idealist , who thinks that a policeman is merely a tool of the law . The film masterfully shows the differences between them from the beginning Quinlan is huge and looming , heavy in every sense of the word . He is a man whose obvious bulk demonstrates what he has been through : every ounce of fat is his past , weighing down on him . He is shown as someone who is also lost : the squint of his eyes is almost as if he constantly tries to understand what precisely he is doing . He has the demonstrative sureness of a man who is only sure ‘ of himself for show : even if the show is for himself , he is still confused . He is a wounded mammoth : his limp – gotten heroically , taking a bullet for his friend – adds even more to his tragic feel . Quinlan has the intuition of a wounded beast His hunches ‘ are often correct , but his methods are not – and this is what kills him eventually . A great detective , but a lousy cop ‘ – this is how he is characterized in the end
Vargas , on the other hand , could be poster child for the police . He is stylish as much as a police job allows style . In contrast to Quinlan who is shown as the typical redneck , Vargas is the atypical Mexican successful , clean , speaking English with no accent . An idealist to the core , he is extremely sensitive about his job , considering it a dirty but necessary duty . Vargas is admirable – he is even polite about his accomplishments . He has no need for hunches , but instead relies only on evidence , and states that he only takes action if the evidence is absolutely infallible . Quinlan criticises him for it : his life has taught him that sometimes a good criminal does not leave evidence , and then it is a cop ‘s job to reign him , despite the lack of data . Thus these two represent a dilemma
theless , as the film ‘s storyline manifests , we see the difference between the two begin to blur . As if a crooked mirror of Quinlan , Vargas endangers his wife during the course of his pursuit of justice . The poster child is then shown as succumbing into the… [banner_entry_footer]
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