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A Van prefix suggests that the director's ancestors were once Dutch nobles, but I digress. I think this movie has as little to do with nobility as Terminator II has to do with pink fluffy bunnies (though I bet there is one on a bed somewhere in the movie). No, Punk Lawyer is a much darker and grungier movie. It looks at alcoholism, homelessness, the meaninglessness of wealth, and relationships.
The movie is based around a lawyer who used to look after poor people but became disillusioned with the system and decided to leave them. He has been constantly pushed by his father to partner with him in his legal practice, but he is very resistant to it. Every year he spends one night binge drinking and one particular time he witnesses a group of Punks being arrested for ignoring an eviction notice and sees an old man go into the crowd. Wanting to help the old man, he dives into the crowd and ends up being arrested for drunkenness. While locked up in the cell he witnesses one of the punks die apparently due to police negligence. He is then pursued by the punk's friends and family to help them and to testify that he saw it, but he does not want to get involved.
This movie draws us to the fact that punks are people too. They are poor and may have to squat but they are people. They have friends and family and should not be neglected. Justice is for all people, not the alleged good people, which I do not believe exist. This movie tries to show that not everything punks do is bad, and in fact shows us that punks are not all bad people. In this instance they were not drug abusers, just people who chose to live a certain way.
Another interesting thing is the lawyer is a rabid alcoholic. At first he is a binge drinker, but the final scene we come to realise what he is about to become. He is sitting next to a homeless drunk and compared to the drunk there is little difference. Instead we see that this lawyer, who used to be a wealthy and influential person, is about to become the drunk that we see on the park benches. We generally don't think about them nor wonder where they come from, though here we see that this particular drunk was once a lawyer, though he is totally responsible for his position.
This movie seems to show us that those who we scoff at we might come one day if we choose to flee our problems. He does not believe that there are really any problems. His wife was raped a long time ago yet he refuses to believe that she was, instead he thinks that it was a ploy to get his sympathy. When confronted with the punk's death in custody, he chooses to try and ignore it though others are suffering, and he even gave up being a street lawyer, suggesting he did not want to look at the state of the world. His binge drinking is a clear example of his desire to escape reality. Thus this movie is a warning that he cannot escape our problems by ignoring them or drinking them away for the more we try to ignore them the larger they fester and end up destroying us.
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