Amanda Oman HUM 1900 Research Paper Dredd: Judge, Jury and Executioner In a dystopian era plagued by radiation, Dredd is one of the Judges, which is the only presence of law in the land. The most feared of all Judges, Dredd is on a mission to stop the distribution and use of a new drug, “Slo-Mo”. While training a new Judge, Dredd and his trainee are caught in a slum apartment where a drug lord, Ma-Ma, has gained control over almost all of the inhabitants. The two Judges must fight for survival when the futuristic apartment building’s security is taken over by the drug lord with one mission: to kill Dredd and save the business.
Films are generally pretty personal things. What one person loves, another may hate, and there are many concepts that can or cannot be included to create the desired effect. Regardless, there are a few things a film needs that everyone can agree on; an interesting plot, believable characters, captivating dialogue, a realistic set design, and must have a destination (and get there in a reasonable time). Dredd accomplishes all of these with ease, and was a film worth seeing. The plot is pretty basic, and while the basic idea of clashing with authority and who will prevail isn’t relatively new, Dredd presents the concept in a fresh way.
Thrilling and suspenseful, Dredd is very well written and captivates the audience. NPR reviewed the film, stating, “Dredd works because it’s an action flick with wide appeal that takes risks it doesn’t need to – in its delightfully off-putting violence and daring style – and those choices pay off in a singular and exhilarating movie experience. It’s savage, beautiful and loads of fun. (ARNOLD)” Taking something so extraordinarily simple and making a masterpiece is what Alex Garland, the writer, has done. While there seems to be a constant flow of action scenes, the rising action isn’t typical backstory stuff.
It offers the pertinent information, but in an energetic way. The climax is certainly the definition of, with more guns and ammunition than you can shake a stick at. Dredd lacks in the falling action, but after the previous high point, any more action may border on too much. Judges are self-described as “Judge, Jury and Executioner”, being given the power to determine charges on scene, and execute the appropriate punishment immediately. This kind of power is overwhelming and one would expect anyone in this position to be a bit arrogant and demeaning.
This demeanor is shown exceptionally well by the Judges at the end of the movie. Many are on Ma Ma’s payroll and corrupted Judges are aplenty. These characters act, as one would expect, prompting the audience to feel a bit of animosity towards them: aptly so, since they are part of the villainous crowd. With a plot as dramatic and intense as Dredd’s, the set must be equally astonishing. Set in a futuristic time, after bouts of radiation, Mega-City One looks drastically different than Earth in present day. Shooting in South Africa provided plenty of vast land to create the perfect set that accurately portrayed the ‘goings-on’.
The set is authentic and eerie, and strangely draws you in to the point that when you leave the theater, you wonder where all of the sunlight came from. This kind of believable set makes the movie experience that much more enjoyable. “I am the law”. Potentially one of the most raw lines in the film, this is the overall theme of the Judge’s attitudes. Being a drama, the film must deliver dialogue that is as captivating as the other elements of the film. Audiences love wit, one-liners, and humor, of any variety. Christy Lemire, from Rotten Tomatoes states, “A wickedly dark comic streak breaks up the vivid violence. LEMIRE) (ARNOLD) (LEMIRE; WATERCUTTER)” While pretty dry, the humor exists in the form of simple lines, delivered mostly by Dredd himself. But, in fact, the movie is devoid of too much dialogue, giving the audience the ability to absorb the beautiful set and the extreme action shots that seem to never end. Dredd could have offered more in the way of ‘captivating dialogue’, but Karl Urban, who plays Dredd, makes up for it with the delivery, using his raspy, Clint Eastwood-like voice. Perhaps the most important part of the movie is the plot, and how the movie reacts and evolves around the plot.
The natural progression of things, the speed of that progression, and the in-betweens of the plot are all extremely important in holding the audience’s attention and not boring them half to death, or leaving them in the dust, confused. Dredd’s plot is pretty simple; stay alive in a post-radiation era while trying to solve a crime and bring down a drug lord. With the wrong writer, Dredd could be very short, and very boring. However, Garland creates intensity and draws the viewer in with numerous action scenes and suspense with not knowing if they will survive or not.
Wired. com calls Dredd, “a fantastic action spectacle set against the back drop of two people trying to escape hell on Earth. There are massive bombtastic fights, near-death face offs, and bro-ing out between new BFFs Anderson and Dredd. (WATERCUTTER)” The climax is reached in due time, with an ending that, as a viewer, you can’t help but shout a little “hoo-ra” at. Dredd is strong on the dialogue and characters, but shines on the set and plot areas. An astonishing set and a plot with non-stop action make Dredd an intense film you won’t want to miss.
Works Cited WATERCUTTER, ANGELA. “Review: Dredd 3D Puts Splashy Slo-Mo Spin on Ultraviolence. ” 21 Sept. 2012. Wired. Com. 29 Oct. 2012 ;http://www. wired. com/underwire/2012/09/review-dredd-3d/;. ARNOLD, JOEL. “Nothing To ‘Dredd’ About A New Action Adaptation. ” 20 Sept. 2012. NPR. 29 Oct. 2012 ;http://www. npr. org/2012/09/20/161272582/nothing-to-dredd-about-a-new-action-adaptation;. LEMIRE, CHRISTY. “Review: 3-D makes beautifully bleak `Dredd’ pop . ” 19 Sept. 2012. Rotten Tomatoes. 29 Oct 2012 ;www. rottentomatoes. com;.