Gang Portrayal in “Set It Off” Movie by F. Gary Gray
Portrayal of Gang Members
Set It Off is a movie produced in 1996 and directed by F. Gary Gray. It features four black women who struggle to make ends meet by doing different jobs. However, their dreams are cut short by various predicaments. First, Frankie (Vivica A. Fox) is fired by her boss and accused of colluding with robbers to rob a bank where she was working as a teller (Holden, 1996). She tries to prove her innocence, but nobody is willing to listen to her. Therefore, she reluctantly walks out of the bank and into the streets where life becomes complicated. She decides to work at a janitorial service and finds solace in the company of her friends. Tisean (Kimberley Elise) is a single mother whose life is full of frustrations that make her desperate. Cleo (Queen Latifa) is a lesbian living in the undeveloped part of the town while Stony (Jada Pinkett) is struggling to recover from depression caused by the death of her brother (Holden, 1996). Most directors portray gangs in their movies as desperate and ready to do anything to make ends meet. They are determined to commit crimes because this is the only way of getting rich quickly (Holden, 1996). The director portrays how personality differences enable gang members to respect each other and avoid issues that may cause conflicts among them.
Portrayal of Gangs
The movie portrays gangs as groups of individuals formed to protect the interests of members. Tisean, Stony, Cleo, and Frankie form a gang of robbers to steal from banks and improve their standards of living. The gang consists of members with similar predicaments and who can do anything to protect their interests. Members get emotional and financial security from their gang, and this ensures they stick together in good and bad times (Holden, 1996). The movie shows that gangs are usually powerful because their members have common goals, and nobody is allowed to go against the expectations of the group. Lastly, membership in this gang is derived from the predicaments that each person experiences. These stars are brought together by similar problems that make them think that they are outcasts in their society. In addition, these women met while working at a janitorial service and later established a strong bond among them. They discuss the frustrations facing them and what they can do to improve their lives. Frankie advises her colleague to rob a bank; however, their joy is cut short as a detective trails their moves causing the deaths of Cleo, Tisean, and Frankie. Stony escapes the police net and moves to another country where she settles and forgets her past life.
Criminal Activities Perpetuated by the Gang
The movie shows the struggles of desperate women trying to make ends meet. However, they use illegal means to acquire wealth and live happily. First, they have weapons, and it is likely that these are illegal arms. Secondly, they rob banks and threaten people who try to trail them. Lastly, they killed their boss before escaping from the janitorial service company. The movie shows how criminals have no respect for civic laws or social order, and that is why they commit crimes and perceive them as hobbies (Valdez, 2005). Moreover, the director presents the characters in this movie as weak and unable to accept their predicaments. Most gang members believe that the society does not recognize or appreciate them (Valdez, 2005). They decide to revenge by robbing banks and killing anybody that comes their way. Lastly, the director ridicules the misused energy that these characters invested in illegal activities instead of concentrating on seeking good jobs.
Holden, S. (1996). Set It Off (1996) Just Trying to Get Even While They Get Rich. Web.
Valdez, A. J. (2005). Gangs: A Guide to Understanding Street Gangs. California: LawTech Publishing.