Michael A. Trenka
Intro to Comp: Writing as an Inquiry
26 September 2016
Walt Disney once said “We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to create more movies.” As a society, we are taught from a young age that we are all equals, but in today’s films, men and women as well as minority groups are not. The purpose of the rep test is to raise awareness from women and minority groups that are not correctly represented in the film industry. The film, American Gangster, directed by Ridley Scott, does not apply to the definition of the REP TEST.
Leading up to 2014, it is expected that the film industry as a whole, had generated 564 billion dollars in revenue. The film American Gangster made 266.67 million dollars while having a budget of 100 million dollars. American Gangster scored 1 point on the Rep test for including colored men in speaking roles. Although the film is about a black gang, we do see the celebration of racial, ethnic and cultural stereotypes. Midway through the movie, we see a confrontation of police and the black gang, a white officer proceeds to beat the young black gang member on the fact that he is black and obviously up to no good. In the Men category of the Rep test, this movie expresses violent men, and it does not avoid perpetuating unhealthy body, as well as not including men in non-stereotypical roles. Frank Lewis, played by Denzel Washington, along with other men, are in power the entire movie. These men are seen beating people senselessly and glorifies violent men. To the women side of things, this film failed to score one point, we actually see women discriminated and seen as sexual objects. The first scene of the movie is a sex scene between a male and a female, although we see the back of the male’s head, we can see everything above the waist on the female, including her breasts. As for LGBT, people with disabilities, and bonus points, the film doesn’t get a point in all three categories. The film got a D on the test, as seen above with specific facts from the film, and does not show equality between a male and a female.
Everyday people are told what they “can” and “can’t do.” In the films today, women and minority groups are portrayed differently from men. Watching the film, American Gangster, it is seen that the women in the movie are portrayed as emotional and sexual accessories to every single man in the film. A scene that depicts the emotional aspect from women is when Frank’s wife gives him a gift in lingerie, Frank does not accept the gift and slaps her in the face. She begins to cry and the scene panels out. The next scene is in the drug factory, the women are in their birthday suits, naked, putting cocaine and drugs into bags. While the scene cuts around the room, we see the men in the room, smoking, drinking, and doing the drugs while touching the females sexually. Many of the women in this scene of the expressions of being depressed and violated. Relating these scenes back to the REP TEST, it does everything on the list that shouldn’t happen in a film. There is not a woman in power, there is women of color but not protagonist women but are included in racial stereotypes. As for the others tests, women don’t get any points. The REP TEST shows this movie not passing the test, through the emotion of women used, we can see that the women are truly there just for their looks.
The REP TEST rated this movie at a D, and personally this is one of my favorite movies of all time. Although the points of the REP TEST make sense to me, and do raise awareness for women, I don’t believe this test should apply to this movie because it is not fair. I believe this because women in the early 1960’s where not in power in gangs and in the mafia. As the issue of gang and mafias in my life don’t affect me, and this movie depicts them, I can’t apply this test to this movie. As for changes, I would make the test a little less harsh because there are films with gangs and mafias that do have women in power but those movies are more recent. As this movie was created in 2007, I don’t believe with the circumstances of the movie, that it should be applied to the REP TEST.