Ethical dilemmas are often portrayed in movies. The Ethical Dilemma Movie Writing Assignment requires students to access a movie from the list below, and then write an analysis of the film identifying each character listed here for that movie with one main ethical system. Some characters may change ethical systems during the movie. Students must note when this occurs. Other characters may fit more than one ethical system; try to focus on the main one for this character in the analysis. Students must explain why they have associated a particular character with the ethical system(s) using examples of movie scenes that depict certain behaviors of the characters.
NOTE: DO NOT LUMP ALL CHARACTERS INTO ONE ETHICAL SYSTEM! Each character is to be analyzed separately and not collectively with one or more other characters at the same time.
A Clockwork Orange (Links to an external site.), 1971: Alex DeLarge, Prison Chaplain, Frank Alexander, Psychiatrist, Chief Guard Barnes.
All the President’s Men (Links to an external site.), 1976: Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Harry Rosenfeld, Deep Throat, Hugh Sloan.
Gattaca (Links to an external site.), 1997: Vincent Freeman, Irene Cassini, Director Josef, Dr. Lamar, Jerome Eugene Morrow
Mystic River (Links to an external site.), 2003: Jimmy Markum, Dave Boyle, Detective Sean Devine, Detective Sergeant Whitey Powers, Celeste Boyle, Annabeth Markum
Gone, Baby, Gone (Links to an external site.), 2007: Patrick Kenzie, Angie Gennaro, Jack Doyle, Remy Bressant, Helene McCready
Prisoners (Links to an external site.), 2013: Keller Dover, Detective Loki, Nancy Birch, Grace Dover, Franklin Birch, Holly Jones, Alex Jones.
Spotlight, 2015: Mike Rezendes, Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson, Sacha Pfeiffer, Marty Baron, Ben Bradlee, Jr., Matt Carroll, Mitchell Garabedian. (Can be rented through YouTube, Amazon Prime, iTunes, or free with Showtime subscription.)
Good Kill (Links to an external site.), 2015: Major Thomas Egan, Lt. Colonel Jack Johns, M.I.C. Joseph Zimmer, Airman Vera Suarez, Capt. Ed Christie.
Ex Machina (Links to an external site.), 2015: Caleb, Jay, Nathan, Ava, Kyoko.
Eye in the Sky (Links to an external site.), 2016: Lieutenant General Frank Benson, Colonel Katherine Powell, Steve Watts, Sergeant Mushtaq Saddiq, Carrie Gershon, Matt Levery.
Identification of plausible ethical systems
Plausible ethical system identified accurately for each character
Application of plausible ethical systems
All elements of the ethical systems applied to each character
Student articulates two or more sound reasons why ethical system applies to each character
Show college level work: complete sentences, logical flow, proper spelling and grammar throughout
Paper follows all instructions given