Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Review of Murder in the First: Too Dramatized to Seem Realistic

For a movie that centered mostly a courtroom setting, Murder in the First seemed fairly unrealistic, even for a dramatic movie, because there were many inaccuracies within the courtroom. I felt as though they really put their artistic license to use and created a movie that seemed overly dramatized. Christian Slater seemed to ask every question by yelling at the witness. He acted as though each question he asked was ground breaking and case-altering. Also, he would lead the witnesses on by asking several questions at once and giving them only a chance to answer the last one. Lawyers are not allowed to do this in court, but the judge only stopped him a few times. The judge and the prosecuting attorney would also yell quite frequently and I felt that it came off as too dramatic.

There were also a lot of scenes that had very dramatic build ups. There were several times that Christian Slater would be running somewhere and it seemed like the scene was just added to build up the following scene; however, it was used too many times so it lost its effect. Also, the scenes following the dramatic runs often seemed anti-climactic after the buildup given for it. I really liked the movie for the most part, but I think they could have played it down a little and it wouldn’t have seemed so “Hollywood.”



  1. I definitely agree with the fact that Murder in the First had some over dramatization. While I was writing my blog I looked up some more information about Henri Young. I found out didn't just steal to feed his starving sister; he also became a bank robber. Young also killed a man, before entering Alcatraz. His death was not as dramatic compared to films rendition. He was even transfered from Alcatraz before his death.
    His character in the movie was portrayed significantly more innocent, adding to the drama, since his only crime was stealing to provide for his starving sister. Young's depiction was to get the audience on his side and against Alcatraz, for their crimes of humanity.

  2. I agree with Jessica. The film seemed perfectly fine with me, until I searched Henry Young on website and found out that he was actually a notorious bank robber and murderer. Now that I know Henry Young was not as innocent as the film has portrayed, I highly doubt about the purpose and point that the director wants to convey through this film. It seems to me that the director has almost cast a slander on Alcatraz, made the audience think that Alcatraz and its administrators are the most malicious and evil things that have happened to the US penal history. This film is very biased. If the director changed so much historical facts in hopes of making the movie more interesting, then he has definitely failed in doing so. This is just a overly dramatized fiction. But in terms of cinematography, I don't think it's too bad. I really like the images of the movie and its soundtrack.

  3. I agree with both Jessica and Tiffany. When I first watched the film, I was inclined to feel really sorry for Henri Young, as he had to endure so much torture and was locked up for so many years for only stealing $5 to feed his sister. In addition, the movie portrays Alcatraz as the main factor that drove Henri Young to kill McCain. However, further research shows that Young was a bank robber and murderer before he was brought to Alcatraz. This over-dramatization is a film strategy to invoke sympathy for Young and illustrate a bias to portray Alcatraz as the most awful, torturous prison.