“Gone Baby Gone” is Ben Affleck’s movie that was released in 2007. Although the film is about children’s kidnapping, it also reflects consideration and thinking of the main character about morality of his actions. The main character is Patrick Kenzie, a private detective, who tries to find kidnapped girl Amanda. Yet, in the course of the film, he himself questions the morality of his actions. Therefore, moral issues presented in Affleck’s movie are regarded from Kant’s moral perspective.
Amanda, a four-year girl, was kidnapped by a group of criminals that included her relative. The girl’s mother in addition to being alcohol-addicted was a criminal as she was drug dealer’s courier. The main motives for kidnapping are money and a cop’s desire to raise the girl. The cop who needs the girl believes that there is nothing bad in kidnapping the girl the mother-addict. Captain Jack Doyle who was interested in the little girl does not want to harm Amanda; and he treats her as if she is his own daughter.
Yet, the kidnap is a crime that is investigated by the local police department. However, the case is investigated not only by the cops but also by Patrick Kenzie, a private detective. Overcoming difficulties, he found Amanda at Captain Jack Doyle’s house. Then, a serious question arose before Patrick whether to return little girl to her alcohol-addicted mother or leave her with family that takes care of her. The private detective decided to return Amanda to her mother.
Although one could argue Kenzie’s final decision to return Amanda to her mother, his action is absolutely moral from the perspective of Kant's moral theory. According to Kant, motives are principal factors that determine whether an action is moral or not. Since Kenzie’s primary intentions are to investigate the crime and return Amanda to her mother, his actions are moral based on Kant’s philosophy. On the other hand, the kidnapping by the criminals absolutely can be also considered a moral action if to consider that the cop who was among the criminals wanted only the best for the girl. The results of returning little Amanda to her mother can be very different. Both the girl and her mother can be happy together; yet, if Amanda’s mother continues to take drugs, no one knows how the girl will end up. On the other hand, if the girl stays with her new family, the results cannot be predicted as well since nobody can know how her life would be with the new family.
No one knows the future; thus, no one can judge whether an action is moral or not taking into consideration only possible consequences and outcomes. Considering the motives of an action using Kant’s theory makes determining morality of the action rather simple and logical.
Determining morality of any action can always be a difficult problem for people. Many people ask this question every day in a similar way many philosophers do. “Gone Baby Gone” is a film where moral questions can be easily supported by using Kant’s theory. According to this theory, the motives are defining factors of action’s morality. Namely by considering the motives for actions, it is easier to examine whether an action is moral or not.
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