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Hannah Arendt Film Critique Example

The Eichmann Trial

Hannah Arendt is one of the most insightful movies released in 2012. Its original footage was done in 1961 in black and white. The film presents a provocative analysis of a trial of a German Nazi SS-lieutenant colonel Adolf Eichmann in Israel by the Jerusalem District Court. The paper will give a brief review and opinion of the movie Hanna Arendt done by German director Margarethe von Trotta.

The opening scene of the film starts with the capture of Eichmann in South America where he was believed to have escaped via forged papers. As Arendt, now a professor in New York, is observing the trial, she is impressed by the mediocrity and ordinary appearance of Eichmann since she expected Eichmann to be a monster or someone scary. After Arendt makes a publication about Eichmann’s rationalized behavior stating that he was simply doing his job, she receives criticism from the Jewish authorities of unfairly defending Eichmann.


Hannah Arendt's Speech

Later in a trip outside town with her friend Mary McCarthy, she claims to be misunderstood. The film closes by Arendt’s speech to a group of students in which she claims about the nonexistence of the crime Eichmann was accused of. In her statement, Arendt argues that Eichmann was a man who renounced all personhood qualities, hence proving that "great evil is committed by nobodies without intentions or motive" in what she called the “the banality of evil” (Robinson 4).

It is evident through her publications that Arendt did not mean that Eichmann had committed an exceptional crime, or that evil had become so ordinary. Arendt thought the crime was exceptional, if not unprecedented, and thus required a dynamic approach to legal judgment from the law enforcers. Arendt disputed the legal intention, showing that Eichmann may have lacked the “intentions” to commit genocide as he did not think about the crime he was committing (Scott 6).

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Arendt’s main aim, however, was not to establish an exceptional case in Israel but to give an understanding of humanity crimes that would result in the acknowledgment of the destruction of Gypsies, Communists, gay people, Jews, the ill and the physically challenged (Arendt 11). Therefore, according to Arendt, the state was not justified to conduct the trial of Eichmann in the name of its own population.

The main reason Arendt believed the national criminal courts were not adequate to adjudicate the Nazis was the belief that the engagement of the Nazis in the crime was against their thinking and intentions. Arendt advocated for reform in the political and legal fields with the goal of creating a platform that will safeguard the rights of the population against destruction as well as think by the perpetrators of the crime (Scott 6).

In this film, we can see a determination of Arendt in fighting for truth and fairness in the administration of justice to criminals. Ever thought she finally agrees with the final verdict to condemn Eichmann to death, she still disputes the reasoning by the court and the spectacle of the trial proceedings. I believe that the insistent character of Arendt in this film is what leaders should emulate in fighting for real justice.

Film Critique Summary

I can recommend this movie as an incredible, skillful and elegant drama that demonstrates intellectual personality. The film accurately reflects what fighting for justice should be. Its setting is also rich which gives it a fantastic appearance, hence, making it attractive and enjoyable.

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