23 Aug 2022


Man on Fire - The Best Movie You've Never Seen

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Academic level: College

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Man on Fire is one of the most popular among movies starring academy award winner Denzel Washington. The movie stars Creasy, a bodyguard who loses his charge, Pita, to kidnappers. Creasy struggles hard to recover Pita and finally succeeds through torture, violence, and mayhem. Most people focus in the deranged and torturous expeditions of Creasy in the film and make an argument about the legality and necessity of torture in crime fighting. However, from a psychological perspective, the character Creasy makes a good subject for psychological evaluation as he presents a plethora of psychological problems. His character shows different signs of psychological problems from the beginning of the film to the end. There is also a clear reflection of the progression of his mental instability as the film progresses. Further, his character reflects the combination of insomnia and suicidal ideation and actual suicide attempts that have formed a lot of psychological research. This character would, therefore, form a suitable candidate for psychological evaluation and intervention. 

Creasy provides a salad of psychological problems, based on a collection of triggers in both his present and his future. The ideal theoretical framework approach for his psychoanalysis and intervention would, therefore, be Holistic/Integrative Therapy. For starters, Creasy is a former military officer who not only got injured in his Special Forces duties but also lost people close to him. He expresses signs of post-traumatic stress disorder as well as survivors guilt. Even before the trauma and loss that takes place within the movie itself, Creasy is already struggling with these two issues. The struggle brought about by them introduces another issue into the matrix, to wit substance abuse. Creasy is depicted as a chronic alcoholic. It is, however, unclear if his alcoholism is an old problem or a coping mechanism for the PTSD and survivors guilt. Finally, even before Creasy suffers the new losses shown in the movie, he is shown to have a combination of extreme insomnia and suicidal ideation. He is always shown drinking alcohol late into the night while holding a gun. Finally, at the very moment when life seems to have improved as he has a new and attractive job, the ideation finally transforms into an actual suicide attempt as Creasy puts a loaded gun into his mouth and pulls the trigger. The gun, however, does not go off and Creasy is shown asking a friend why his perfectly working gun would fail to fire when the trigger is pulled. All these issues take place before the fresh crisis that takes place inside the movie. 

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Creasy is then attacked, gravely wounded by a gunshot and Pita is taken away by kidnappers. In a strange twist, he stands accused of having been complacent in the kidnapping and is arrested while still recuperating in hospital. His attempt to save his ward fails as he is led to believe that she has died. At this point, all seems lost, yet Creasy seems at his element. Instead of being disillusioned as he seemed when all was well, the crisis seems to calm him and create focus in his life. His calm demeanor is, however, deceptive as he also becomes extremely violent and sadistic more so in his torture. A good example is when he cuts off the fingers of a police officer, one after the other and uses a cigarette lighter to stop the bleeding. The foregoing creates such a complex combination of symptoms, causes, and issues that only the Holistic/Integrative Therapy theoretical framework can effectively address them. 

Among the concerns that would arise based on the particulars of the case include the possibility of a cultural dilemma as Creasy is African American. Cultural differences can create a dilemma on the part of the therapist and also cause issues that would normally be seemed ordinary become complicated due to cultural differences. The other concern would be the unpredictability of Creasy’s suicidal ideation and attempts as it is impossible to tell his trigger. During bad days, Creasy seems determined to live while at the best of days, he suddenly makes an attempt on his life. It would, therefore, be hard to predict how he will react to therapy. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Man on Fire - The Best Movie You've Never Seen.


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