The Movie - 21

In: Film and Music

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“Hit Me!”: An Analysis of Ethics in the Movie 21

Michael Breward BU 456: Computer Audit Sarah Guirguis November 21, 2008

MIT student Ben Campbell is admitted into Harvard Medical School, but he cannot afford the $300,000 tuition. His only alternative is to win the extremely competitive Robinson Scholarship by writing an essay that will make him stand out from other applicants. Recognizing Ben’s intelligence, his professor invites him to join his card counting club. Ben joins the team with the intention to do it until he can pay his tuition. As the team’s fortune grows, Ben becomes greedy, at which point, his luck turns into adversity and he is left with nothing except an adventurous experience to dazzle the scholarship administrator; successfully securing the Robinson scholarship. Was this success truly merited, or were Ben’s unethical actions simply overlooked. Based on ethical and social welfare philosophies, it is clear that modern society would not applaud him for such behaviour. Utilitarianism suggests that an individual’s actions ought to yield the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Ben discards this theory when he continues to count cards after acquiring sufficient funds to pay for his tuition. At this point, his motives are triggered out of greed and self-interest and no longer for the greater good. Further, Ben places his university, and ultimately his medical career in jeopardy when he undermines the power and influence of his professor by disobeying his instructions. He finds that his winnings have been stolen and learns that his professor has academically failed him. Ben’s unhealthy addiction to money and his rebelliousness has left him penniless, incapable of graduating, and as a result, unable to become a doctor to help a great number of people.

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