A Reflection on the Inspector Who Called

It was a brilliant play. Or was it a movie? It might have even been a TV special, but I digress. Despite my complete ignorance at adequately catagorizing films, however, the video was still a fascinating and oh so tragic drama piece. I’ve assumed that the film was set place in a pre-modern setting, taking it’s place somewhere in the 1910’s.

I long and revel for a perpexing story that completely baffles and outwits me. This play did not deliver. It did, however, make me reassess my original expectations, believing that the movie was no more than an unoriginal and rather boring chock-full-of-literature play about an up and coming wedding primarily centred around a table. The table and wedding remained, though one in a much better state of condition than the other. It was a nice table. As for the rest of my theories, they were effectively nullified as I couldn’t have been more wrong when the trigger for the rest of the plot was revealed. It’s my personal favourite, and can spice up any dreadful story to something Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would be proud of when done right – murder. Though not directly involved, it is indeed what happened as the Birling family was subject to relentless and brutal interoggation by the ever shady and soft spoken Inspector Goole. After the realization that the play had the potential to both stump and impress me, I was hooked. Unraveling and piecing together a puzzle could not have taken a better embodiement than ‘An Inspector Calls’, as the plot quite literally unfolds as each Birling (and honorary Birling) member’s association with the murder is revealed. The unique storytelling, although making for a captivaing experience, proved to make the story all too predictable. Even before the penultimate involvment was uncovered, I’d already guessed (and was right) who the father was. Eric, you ARE the father. Even when the Inspector and suicide proved to be ‘fake’, I still knew that it wasn’t, due to the helpful foreshadowing placed by the writer, taking form as the denial in the fiance, mother, and father. At the end of the movie, I thouroughly disappointed at the cliff hanger ending. I hate them with a passion because it leaves so many questions unanswered. Was Eva Smith and (other girl) really the same girl? Was Inspector Goole the perpatrator? Who was he? What happens to the table? We shall never know.

The one thing I got out of the play other than my utter frustration at the writers cowardice at ending at such a crucial point and leaving the audience to speculate what will happen is that every action has its consequence. Every action you do, no matter who you are or how big or small the action, has varying degrees of consequences. The Birling family (and Gerald) affected Eva Smith’s life to the point of (maybe) suicide, by firing her twice, having an affair with the aforementioned and breaking it off, impregnating her, and denying assistance to her when she needed it. It’s a tragic tale that could very well happen, and the chance that it might happen is not outside the realm of possibilities. What I think hit me the hardest was the one of the last words the Inspector said, and it was something like ‘Actions have consequences, and all people are intertwined in one society, and that if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish.” Part of that was actually said in the show, which is what I interpret as WW1. Man had failed to understand that things are connected, and paid the price for their ignorance.

I really enjoyed it. It was entertaining and thrilling when all the pieces fell perfectly together, still with a whisk of dubious doubt, but masked with a brilliant script and impeccable acting. It’s ironic, really, how the Birling family (and the soon-to-be-or-maybe-not-son-in-law) were brought to believe and fear the responsibility bestowed upon them, shouldering Smith’s death. When they find out, the father, mother, and the fiance are relieved and scoffing at the thought of being tricked, while the kids accept what they’ve done. It’s funny how the older 3 brush aside the fact that they still ruined a girl’s life, only to be so selfish as to claim they were innocent all along. But in the end, they were had by thinking they were had, and the poetic justice was served dully so.


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