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Shots in the Mirror: Crime Films and Society Paperback – 20 Apr 2006

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4.3 out of 5 stars 9 reviews from us-flag |

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Product Description


It's hard to imagine a more entertaining, well researched, and insightful encyclopedia of English-language crime films. Anyone who wants to know the history and place of crime cinema in the US should start here. Criminologist Rafter combines formidable analytic skills with a genuine love of the movies. Her well supported arguments help us to see many of them in new ways. Each chapter made me want to run out and look at films she discusses; but I didn't want to set the book down until I had finished it. (Neil King, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)

Shots in the Mirror is a book for scholars as well as for buffs by one who is clearly both. It is also a necessary book for students of crime and society as well as for students of film. In this new edition Rafter goes even more pointedly to the question of how crime movies `mirror' our world, reflecting the blank, the ambiguous and the unfinished, as well as the heroic and the villainous. I expect to use this book in my teaching, but mainly to devour it for my own pleasure and education. (Richard Sparks, The University of Edinburgh)

Praise for the previous edition: "No serious studies have been conducted of how on-screen crime influences our perception of real-world crime. It is an ambitious topic, and [Rafter] handles it well in a very brief volume.... [She] concludes with a very interesting exploration of future social problems and how they may be played out on screen.... Food for thought on a very clever topic. (Library Journal)

Brims with variety (this may be the only film book that cites the protagonist of Falling Down, The Last Seduction, and The Godfather in one sentence.)

Provides a brief survey that manages to range wider than other literature in the canon.... [Rafter's] strategy works well to fill a gap in the literature of 'criminological issues raised by movies.' (Choice)

This book can help sociologists who want to know more about crime stories... A terrific resource book for crime movies as documents... The brief comparative accounts of scenarios and character portrayals provide a kind of cultural map about the language of justice, discourses of fear, and the significance of the criminal-as-other. Let us find ways to use such a fine resource to enliven our courses and research, to find ways to tell the right stories. (Contemporary Sociology)

One of my favorite chapters (chapter 2) is the examination of the way in which criminologists drop discredited theories over time, but movies "recycle them" because they resonate with audience expectations that are measured by box office receipts. (Contemporary Sociology)

About the Author

Nicole Rafter teaches at Northeastern University in the College of Criminal Justice, and is a professor in the Law, Policy, and Society Program.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 14 Oct. 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great textbook - its more helpful if you've seen the movies it discusses.
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star 3 July 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 9 July 2014
By Anthony T. - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
best price thats why i bought it but that was many years ago in like 07
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very responsible 9 Sept. 2012
By karen CJ - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a college student and it is very important for me too have my books too do homework. My book arrived on the third day of my purshase in excellent conditions. Thank you very much. Good job.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scholarship & Hollywood: Crime Film as a Social Mirror 5 Feb. 2001
By Sue Cote - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Nicole Rafter's text offers a rigorous analysis of important social issues facing not only scholars and students of criminality and criminal justice but members of our own communities as well. Film- like other media- provides a viable avenue for academic study and discourse and should be used both as a tool for instruction as well as a subject for critical inspection. Rafter addresses seminal, contemporary "crime and justice" issues by considering the various genres of crime films, namely cop films, courtroom dramas, prisons, and crime itself. She contends that crime films in each of these genres make two general arguments. First, they all criticize society to a certain extent, whether the issue concerns excessive use of force by the police or the violent crime rate. Secondly, these films provide the audience with resolution by displaying the triumph of "justice" over corruption and brutality. As Rafter explains, crime films offer us an uncomfortable sense of gratification.
One of the many strengths of this text concerns its accessibility to both members of the academy and the general public. Rafter's text steps outside the boundaries of criminology and criminal justice and embraces a variety of disciplines and perspectives. As she maintains throughout her book, crime films reflect our ideas about social, economic, and political issues, and they shape the way in which we think about them. By examining the interrelationships between film history and technique, social history, criminal justice and criminological theory from multiple interdisciplinary perspectives, Rafter offers a fresh and (enjoyably) enlightening approach to the study and understanding of crime, criminality, and criminal justice within the context of film. Albeit a scholarly text, Rafter's book reads like a novel; extremely engaging in its description of crime films throughout various genres and generations, readers from various academic disciplines and those outside academia alike will find this book to be both widely entertaining and intellectually rigorous and stimulating.
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