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Default Does the end justify the means?

August 29th, 2008, 12:19
Remus and I stumbled across a rather interesting topic lately which I thought might be worth a further discussion. It all began when I posted my opinion about the movie “Gone Baby Gone” in the movie thread on these boards. I thought that it is a pretty good movie. On many levels it deals with the question of morality and if it is ok to commit a crime if it serves the right purpose. Imagine you could save life, but you had to commit a crime to do it… would you stick to the law or bent the rules of jurisdiction?

For those who want to read it, I wrote up a small summary of the movie, but you don’t have to read it to participate in the discussion… be alert, it contains spoilers:

****** Spoiler Alert *****

The movie is about two private detectives, Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro who are partners in more than one way and are hired by Beatrice 'Bea' McCready to find her four year old niece Amanda who has been abducted. Angie does not want to investigate the case because both of them have no experience in child abduction, but Kenzie, who is a local boy that grew up in the rough Boston area is able to convince her anyway. Police officer Capt. Jack Doyle, who lost his own daughter many years ago and is in charge of the investigation is not really happy with the two detectives meddling in his business, but nonetheless assigns the officers Remy Bressant and Nick Poole to give them the necessary support. After interviewing the addicted low life mother of Amanda, Helene McCready, Kenzie goes to a bar and discloses that Helene was on the streets with her boyfriend Skinny Ray Likanski dealing and using drugs on the day Amanda disappeared. At first the police and the detectives think that a child molester might have abducted Amanda, but later on their investigations lead them to the drug scene – it seems that Amanda’s mother and her boyfriend have stolen money from a local drug boss they were dealing for.
Over the course of the movie a rather sad and violent plot unfolds. Two drug dealers are shot by Bressant and Poole, a child molester (and murderer) is shot in cold blood by Kenzie (an act which he later regrets but which was the right thing to do as Bressant assures him) and Poole is shot in his throat, a wound that he eventually succumbs to. In the end it turns out that neither a child molester nor drug dealers were responsible for Amanda’s kidnapping, but that Amanda’s uncle (Beatrice’s husband), Captain Doyle and the two officers Bressant and Poole had constructed a cleaver plot to get Amanda out of her defunct environment for her own sake. Kenzie find’s her living with Captain Doyle and his wife. The young girl has obviously accepted them as her new parents and seems to be quite happy. Although Angie asks him not to, Kenzie calls the police which arrests Doyle and gives Amanda back to her mother who hasn’t changed a bit. She still does drugs and drinks and leaves her daughter alone at home while she goes out at night to party. The movie has no happy ending – Angie breaks up with Kenzie because she cannot forgive him that he has called the police to arrest Doyle and Amanda’s future looks as bleak as before she had been “abducted”. In the final scene we see Amanda and Kenzie, who seems to feel some responsibility for the girl, sitting together on a couch watching tv, while Amanda’s mother is out with friends. But they do not speak and, as Remus said, it becomes quite clear that Amanda will probably, ”grow up among non-family members or neigbours anyway (or worse with delinquents or strangers) instead of her real mother who excited about going to party/date.”

****** Spoiler End *****

So what do you say? Does the end always justify the means… or just sometimes or maybe never?
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