Analysis of Mississippi Burning
Analysis and interpret of Mississippi Burning Mississippi Burning is a film based on the real life murders on three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964. The title Mississippi Burning refers to the burning of crosses and buildings. The “Burning” could also be the two agents who create a spark, which sets the city in flames. The movie takes place in a small town in Mississippi. It is in a small community, where everybody knows each other. It is in the Southern states of America in which there was a lot of racial segregation.
The main conflict in this movie is that the blacks are suppressed and are treated very badly. The theme in the movie is mainly justice. Mississippi Burning takes place in the 60s and there was a great lack of justice back then. White people judged the black people by the color of their skin and the police department was corrupt. Another theme in the movie could also be friendship, because of the main characters’, Ward and Anderson, development of their friendship.
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In the beginning of the movie it is not easy for them to work as a team, mainly because they are from different places and have different opinions on how to solve the case. Throughout the movie they get to know each other better and actually end up calling each other by their first name. Allan Ward is the leader of the investigation. He is from the Northern states and therefore he does not know much about the racial problems in the South. He has a university education and is a young, handsome man. He wants to wants to follow bureau procedure.
He changes a bit throughout the movie because of the situations he is put in. In the beginning of the movie he is in the front, but is a little bit in the background later on, because Rupert has inside knowledge, since he has been living in the South, and therefore knows how to talk to the black people. Rupert Anderson is a former sheriff from the Southern states. He is a middle aged man and has a bit more experience than his partner, Allan Ward. Also, given that he is from the South, he understands black people. The two agents are very different, but agree that there needs to be justice.
Ku Klux Klan also has a main role in this movie. They are very strong together. They are cold blooded murders and just want to get rid of the black people. They have a high status in society, mainly because no one has the courage to do anything to them. At one point in the movie Ward says to Anderson that some things are worth dying for, where Anderson replies with the answer: “Down here, things are different. Here; they believe that some things are worth killing for. ” That describes Ku Klux Klan pretty well. They are all willing to kill for their cause and they want to wipe out the black race.
The genre of the movie is crime, drama and thriller. This can be seen because there are two FBI agents trying to solve a crime; the murder of the civil rights workers. There are a lot of spooky scenes, where the viewer can get scared and be offended. The movie takes place in 1964. Three civil rights workers are killed and the two FBI agents, Ward and Anderson, are hired to investigate the disappearance of them, but they quickly learn that it is not only the disappearance of the three men that is the biggest problem in the Southern town of Mississippi.
They find out that the sheriff’s office is linked to Ku Klux Klan. Agent Ward wants to continue with “bureau procedure”, but Anderson, who is well aware of the racial problems in the South, wants to do it in other ways. The local black community has a huge fear of Ku Klux Klan, and because of that, none of them wants to tell the agents anything. The agents begin to use new tactics, when they find out that just trying to talk will not get them anywhere. They kidnap the mayor and he tells everything about the killings.
Though the agents cannot use this in court, it helps them move forward in the investigation. They con the KKK and after that, a member, Lester Cowens, talks. With evidence admissible in court, the FBI agents prosecute the criminals and they charge them with civil rights violence. Most of the criminals are found guilty and receives sentences from three to ten years. The sheriff is acquitted and the mayor hangs himself. The last scene sums up the movie. Blacks and whites sing together at a Sunday morning service.
The atmosphere changes throughout the movie, because the blacks get more rights, but it is very pressed and the movie shows how hard it was for black people to live a normal life. It also shows the relationship between the white and black inhabitants, which is almost non-existing, because the racism creates fear amongst the blacks. The racial conflict escalates when the FBI agents come to town. It turns into a conflict of getting justice instead of just the lack of justice. It is seen from a white man’s point of view.
The narrator is an omniscient third person, because we see scenes from inside the KKK and follows the agents. The narrator has sympathy for the black people, which can be seen in the way he manufactures the members of the Ku Klux Klan; like bad and heartless people. It can also be seen in the message of the movie, which is to convince the viewer that there is no difference between black and white people. The narrator uses pathos a lot as mode of persuasion, which appeals to the viewer’s feelings.
There are a lot scenes where people are killed, and that may seem strong on the viewer, especially because it happened in real life. This movie very much reminds me of the movie called The Help, which also takes place in the 60s, but is about black maids and the racism they are faced with working for the white families. In both movies you see how bad the black people were treated and how bad the segregation was. I really like the movie Mississippi Burning, though it scares me a bit, but I think it is important for youngsters to see how the world and the laws were back then. The movie is both educational and exciting.