First, Lang employs mise en scène via a grand light to brighten the whole room for the five mobsters. With all the windows covered by curtains, there is no natural lighting, and with all the darkness being away from the focal point of the scene, every mobster is well lit. This single light represents the notion that the mobsters are the only hope left in tracking down M. The citizens, losing complete and utter faith in the police force for their long investigation while M continue, see the mob as their last feasible option for catching. The single light also signals the irony of the scene. Generally a motif for goodness and hope throughout all genres of literature and cinema, the light quietly announces that the citizens have enrolled in the Machiavellian school of thought. Also throughout this scene, the light takes on a more literal meaning and role: it literally sheds light on the mobsters, casting shadows which symbolize the darkness of their potential methods and their madness.
Next, Lang uses mise en scène with the actual mobsters themselves. These men appear to be from the middle class, dressed in business suits and look like any man from the e...
... middle of paper ...
...ple taking matters into their own hands, they are essentially submitting to fear and thus usurping the due process of law. By having the mobsters in the room, the citizens are okay with ends being justified by the means and show that have lost complete and utter faith and trust in the police to keep their children safe.
All in all, Fritz Lang’s M is a social commentary on what crisis does to civility and due process of law. By using mise en scène in the mobster scene, Lang effectively highlights the theme of Machiavellian theory whilst providing time to develop an impatient and fearful tone and the characterization of the citizens losing faith when times got tough. Having criminals serving vigilante justice in an expedient and efficient way without due process and law shows how quickly society turns crazy and savage when one person messes up the flow on everyday life.
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