Serpico ★★★★

Top 10 of the 1970's

"There is, however, another good work that is done by detective stories. While it is the constant tendency of the Old Adam to rebel against so universal and automatic a thing as civilization, to preach departure and rebellion, the romance of police activity keeps in some sense before the mind the fact that civilization itself is the most sensational of departures and the most romantic of rebellions. By dealing with the unsleeping sentinels who guard the outposts of society, it tends to remind us that we live in an armed camp, making war with a chaotic world, and that the criminals, the children of chaos, are nothing but the traitors within our gates. When the detective in a police romance stands alone, and somewhat fatuously fearless amid the knives and fists of a thieves’ kitchen, it does certainly serve to make us remember that it is the agent of social justice who is the original and poetic figure; while the burglars and footpads are merely placid old cosmic conservatives, happy in the immemorial respectability of apes and wolves. The romance of the police force is thus the whole romance of man. It is based on the fact that morality is the most dark and daring of conspiracies."

~G. K. Chesterton

"In the course of the dialectical process, the moment which, at first sight, appeared as the external limit of the point of departure proves to be nothing but the extreme of its negative self-relationship; and the perspicacity of a dialectical analysis is demonstrated precisely by its ability to recognize the supreme rhetorical gesture in a reference to Truth which haughtily depreciates rhetoric; to discern in logos which treats the "mythical way of thinking" condescendingly its concealed mythical foundation - or, as regards the relationship of law and crime, to identify "law" as universalized crime."

~Slavoj Zizek

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