What is justice and evilness? This question remained in my head after watching “The Big Heat,” directed in 1953 by Fritz Lang. The film tells the story of a policeman named Bannion as he investigated a murder case that involved a dangerous criminal syndicate. Sadly, his wife died because of his tenacious pursuit of the head of the criminal syndicate. Two other innocent women – Bertha and Debby – also died because of Bannion’s revenge of his wife. With his firmness and boldness, he successfully avenged his wife’s death and solved the case. However, his relentless in pursuing justice made for a sad ending. If Bannion had not stuck up so much for justice, he would not have lost his wife and caused many additional deaths.
In the first half of the film, Bannion received a call warning him not to bother with the case if he wanted to keep his own life. Nonetheless, Bannion was not afraid, and he was driven by a strong desire to seek justice. He went to the syndicate boss’s house, and because of Bannion’s uncompromising attitude, the two had an argument. He warned the boss and beat up that man’s bodyguard. Because of this, the boss got nervous and angry. The boss then planed an explosion in Bannion’s car. Unfortunately, Bannion’s wife was the first to enter the car, and she met her demise in a fiery explosion. If not for Bannion’s uncompromising sense of justice, he would have just given up the case to keep himself and his family safe, and he would not have gone to the boss’s home with such an uncompromising attitude. As a consequence of his passion for justice, Bannion lost the things and people closest to him.
From there, he sought revenge for the murder of his wife. In order to get more clues of the murder of his wife, he let Debby, who was a gangster’s girlfriend, come to his hotel room. After Debby returned home, the gangster noticed and became angry, splashing boiling coffee in her face. As a result, Debby was disfigured and left grieved and helpless. Seeking help, comfort, and protection, she went to Bannion’s hotel room. Bannion, however, did not provide the kind of support that could have given Debby hope for her life. Distraught, she went to Dancan’s house and killed Bertha. After that, she went back to the gangster’s house and splashed boiling water on his face. She later killed the man. Immediately after, Bannion came to the gangster’s house and caught the gangster. Bannion finally brought the criminal syndicate to justice.
This film inspired me that justice and evilness are relative. Sometimes justice can even be a contributing cause of evilness and sadness. Bannion represented justice in the fight against evil, but his firmness to the concept of justice led him into trouble and cost him his wife. In addition, it led to more innocent deaths, which all ended up being a part of the high cost of justice.