Analysis of Criminals in the Films 'M' and 'Dead Man Walking'

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M and Dead Man Walking present two distinct sorts of criminals: one who is mentally unstable and another who denies culpability in a last ditch effort to save his life. Although both criminals are guilty of heinous crimes, M's Hans Beckert arouses more sympathy than Dead Man Walking's Matthew Poncelet despite the fact that Beckert killed countless children and Poncelet is responsible for the murder of a young couple. In M, Hans Beckert has been kidnapping and murdering small children in a German community. Throughout the film, Beckert's identity is unknown and an entire community comes together in order to find and stop him before he kidnaps and murders another child. Although Beckert's actions are heinous, it is revealed that he cannot help himself from kidnapping and murdering children as he claims that he often blacks out during the course of the crime and that he often hears voices. It is clear that Beckert is suffering from a mental illness and that he cannot be held fully responsible for his actions. Sympathy for Beckert is also created due to the fact that he was not given a fair trial before he was sentenced to death. Beckert is apprehended by the crime lords that run the town Beckert has been committing his crimes in and criminals take it upon themselves to be judge, jury, and executioner. While they maintain that they know the legal system inside and out and that turning Beckert over to the authorities would not provide the community with the justice it

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