Criminological theory is everywhere around us – in the news, music, books, internet, and in the movies (Rafter and Brown 1). This paper is based on the French movie that shows the period of life of a simple man Yvon Targe and the changes that happen to him over time. The movie’s title is “L’Argent” which is French for “money”. The title suggests that the money was the corner stone of all the events presented in the movie
Yvon Targe is a simple worker living an average life, a married young man, and a father of a little girl. His life changes dramatically when one day he gets sucked into a chain of frauds and lies committed by different people. Several wealthy people are protecting their income and as a result Yvon is accused of spreading forged money and charged with a fine. However, no dramatic changes would happen to Yvon if he did not make a decision to take part in a revenge crime planned by the scheming modern “Robin Hood” Lucien. Crime always starts with a desire to pursue an immediate pleasure.
Yvon’s criminal motive is biological, he is driven by his hurt ego; he selfishly decides to punish the unfair owners of the camera shop (Einstadter 15). He forgets about the consequences, about responsibilities and duties of a father and a husband, he thinks only about revenge. Of course, the rookie criminal Yvon gets caught and imprisoned for three years. To my mind, his path as a murderer starts while he is in jail. Yvon is not a wealthy man; his egotistical behavior was triggered by social inequality since a simple poor man was unable to protect himself when rich opponents accused him of being a criminal. It is possible that Yvon has been experiencing a sense of powerlessness and strain for a long time being unable to provide well for his family. It is understandable as the economic transformation of the society influences the homicide rates quite a lot (Ray 126).
He also is a locked-up man, we can see he does not talk much, does not share with his wife. After more failures, unfair accusations and imprisonment Yvon’s strain grows. The failures of his life continue – Yvon’s daughter dies while he is in jail and soon his wife breaks up with him through a letter. The sense of powerlessness and helplessness becomes stronger, accumulates and turns into aggression. After an attempt at a fight in a prison cafeteria, Yvon is locked in a separate cell, he refuses to take calming medications, and he lets his anxiety and aggression grow inside. At the same time, Lucien finally gets arrested after committing several scams and stealing money from the rich to send it to charity.
Lucien has never murdered anyone, he does not feel strained or deprived, and he buys himself expensive treats occasionally. Lucien’s way of thinking is positive, he sees ways out and opportunities, while Yvon is depressed and only sees dead corners everywhere. Lucien’s motives do not come from desperation. The criminal behaviors of Yvon and Lucien remind me of the behaviors of the schoolboys in the beginning – one of them is quiet and shy, gets sucked into a scheme, while the other one is bold and enjoys doing illegal things.
Yvon breaks down and turns into a murderer fulfilling his powerlessness and bursting out with restrained aggression. In the end, he admits his crimes and surrenders to the police. He did not need the money he took from the victims; he needed to feel powerful for once in his life.
Einstadter, Werner. Criminological Theory: An Analysis of Its Underlying Assumptions, Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. Print.
Rafter, Nicole Hahn and Michelle Brown. Criminology Goes to the Movies: Crime Theory and Popular Culture, New York, New York: NYU Press, 2011. Print.
Ray, Larry. Violence and Society, Thousand Oaks, California: 2011. Print.