MovieChat Forums > No Man's Land (1987) Discussion > Better than the average thriller because...

Better than the average thriller because it is interested in those moral


better than the average thriller because it is interested in those moral questions.in the way money and beautiful women and fast cars look more exciting than good police work.

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I agree. I think the movie does a pretty good job at dealing with those moral questions. Nobody is 'pure'. The Lieutenant is full of jealous bitterness and anger, and obviously comes from the labour unions' side of the 70s. Billy is a sap, easily-led, impressionable, lacks balls and hides behind his cop badge like a snail retreating into its shell. Ted is a young man but he has the (outmoded?) value-system of an old-fashioned criminal: blood-for-blood, thieves' code, etc. So on the whole the good guy vs bad guy format, although present as in all Hollywood movies, is much less clear-cut than a typical Hollywood film. It doesn't oversimplify the matter. That's unusual. By the end, we all know Ted is right and Billy's a chump, even though the movie doesn't break the Hollywood universal law (the 'bad guy' has to lose in the end).

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There's also a Miami Vice episode (with Al Bundy's actor (Ed O'Neill)) that deals with this stuff, and it also ends tragically, though has a different sort of twist.

An undercover cop that gets used to the glittery 'easy life' wouldn't really want to go back to the crappy apartment/suburbian hellhole with a naggy bulldogmonster for a wife and driving a beat-up car, having to pay mortgages and watching TV as the only entertainment after a hard, life-endangering day at work.

Ed O'Neill pulls off a really believable performance in that episode, so good, in fact, that you ACTUALLY forget for a few seconds that it's Al Bundy. Now, that's impressive!

I think in this movie, the protagonist's saving grace (besides his young age and naivety), is his large, loving family. He had a lot to lose by giving himself to the dark side.

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