Movie Misconception: The Good or The Evil?


My last blog post, published on January 30th, 2019, touched on the notion of protagonist blindness. I interpret it as being wired to root for the protagonist, and while doing so, seem to be blinded by all the negatives they do. This is a common theme among movies, even in The Shape of Water. We seem to be blinded by all the destruction Eliza causes through the heist of freeing a creature. The heist puts Giles at gunpoint, causes injury to a guard, destroys a car and causes overall havoc to the government-run facility. Eliza’s “opponent”, Strickland, is a lead character in the government operation and is displayed as evil, or the bad guy. He is seen abusing the creature with a stick, disrespecting Eliza and Zelda verbally, shooting the creature and Eliza as well as horrendously abusing the Russian doctor. However, through all this commotion, is Strickland actually the good guy? We are, in a way, overseeing the good of Strickland because he is chasing after the so-called “innocent”, Eliza.

I interpret Strickland as being a good guy. My first reason is that he catches the traitor scientist. The U.S was attempting to keep the creature away from the Russians. The scientist is seen throughout the movie leaking information to what seemed like Russian spies, however, Strickland does not allow that to happen because he kills the scientist and two spies. My second reason he is a good guy is that he is polite. While many interpret the scene where he “does his business” in front of the two janitors as disrespectful and disgusting, I see the scene as him showing character. He says, “Ladies, it was very pleasant chatting with you both (00:17:58).” He thanks the two ladies for chatting with him, which I see as nice. My third reason why Strickland is a good guy is that he is doing his job with great passion. He is a government official who is doing his duty of getting back what was stolen. He is chasing the bad guys.

As a viewer, how could one be rooting for those who do the illegal deed? While one can argue Strickland does many illegal actions, he does it however for the protection of the U.S (Killing the spies) and to attempt to regain the once owned government project. Strickland is actually the good guy. We are, in a way, overseeing the good of Strickland because he is chasing after the so-called “innocent”, Eliza. As a viewer think to your self, could Strickland be seen as the fallen hero?


4 thoughts on “Movie Misconception: The Good or The Evil?

  1. I agree fully with the points made in this post. I think as readers and viewers, we tend to be blinded by the protagonist, as given to us by the writers. While watching the film, as well as the discussion that followed in class, I noticed that most were quick to condemn Strickland. I do recognize some of that criticism as fair, though, as Strickland clearly has a lack of respect to not only women, but anyone inferior to him. Other than that, I think Strickland is an innocent person. When it comes down to it Strickland also has a job to do, and he is only following the orders of his superiors. He was merely doing as he was instructed. Also, I though you made a fair point when you recognized that Eliza could actually be seen as the person in the wrong, as she is committing an illegal act.

    This is not the only example of protagonist blindness we have seen so far in our readings/viewings. In The Little Mermaid I think viewers are also protagonist blinded. Viewers tend to root for Ariel, but why? She acts very irrationally and disrespectfully throughout the film, mostly towards her father. This is shown when Ariel sings, “When’s it my turn? Wouldn’t I love. Love to explore that shore above? Out of the sea. Wish I could be a part of that world” (The Little Mermaid). As I pointed out in my previous blog post, this has a lot to do with the choice of tone. Ariel and Eliza, are portrayed with an innocent and uplifting tone, whereas the same cannot be said for Strickland. This is why I think readers/viewers tend to be blinded towards the protagonist, even when they have some pretty major flaws.

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  3. تنظيف غرفة واحدة في كل مرة، لتسهيل آلية العمل، مع ضرورة عدم نقل أثاث غرفة إلى غرفة أخرى ما لم يتم تنظيفها بشكل كامل من الغبار أيضاً. إبعاد قطع القماش، والوسائد، والبياضات، والسجاد خارج الغرفة، فذلك يساعد على حمايتها من التقاط المزيد من الغبار الموجود في الغرفة، مع ضرورة نفضها جيداً قبل إخراجها، للتقليل من الغبار العالق على سطحها قدر الإمكان. ضرب الوسائد ببعضها البعض بقوة لإخراج الغبار، فذلك يساعد على إخراج الغبار الكامن في داخلها لفترات طويلة.

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  4. Movies and books are my favorite pastimes. I have a whole collection of them, just for my soul. I also read the book “The Shape of Water” by Daniel Kraus and Guillermo del Toro and saw the movie. I like literature and reading character analysis from books or films. I read such essay examples after every finished novel or series. I get help on and now, for example, I have many sketches of Mary Maloney from “Lamb to the Slaughter” or Mattie from the book “True Grit”. So I plan to expand my collection and collect more character analysis.