White Heat Movie Review
In the 1949 film White Heat, director Raoul Walsh depicts the rise of a psychotic outbreak in an individual and the downfall of their mental state. The deranged protagonist, Cody Jarrett, has a deep passion for coming out on top due to an ingrained idea planted by his mother. His love for power overtakes his mind causing him to do dangerous crimes which feed into his obsession. From the start, Cody redundantly shows his love for his mom. He does outrageous crimes and reports it back to his mother who gives him the acknowledgment of a job well done. His mom nurtures and tends to Cody enabling him to rely on her. When Cody finds himself no longer able to depend on his mother's assertiveness after her passing, he turns over a new leaf and is sent on a wild rampage. He tries to fill this void by bonding with others, but no one seems to compare to his mother. Cody’s mom unknowingly implanted Cody’s propensity to rely on others leading to his ruin.
In the beginning scenes, Cody Jarrett is seen with his crew robbing a train. After finishing their mission and returning to their secluded hideaway spot, Cody receives a severe migraine that causes him to stumble all over the room. His mother is aware of these headaches and nurses Cody back to health unveiling the close-knit bond that they share. Cody’s mom advises him to hurry up and recover, indicating that it would be a bad look for Cody to show signs of weakness. Although Cody puts on the false persona of being “strong,” his mom still reassures him that he must not only act the part but play it too. Cody relies on his mother's take on situations and bases his decisions on her advice which entails that Ma stands as Cody’s backbone.
One of Cody’s closest male associates, Big Ed, reveals how he would like to overtake Cody’s position as a crew leader. Ma is aware of Big Ed’s ideas and warns him that Cody will not take his wishes kindly. When Cody is sent to jail for a crime, he leaves Ma to take over for him. Big Ed and Verna, Cody’s wife, team up and decide to take advantage of this situation. Ma visits her son in jail and informs him of the doings of Big Ed and Verna. Not long after Ma’s visitation, Verna ends Ma’s life. Once Cody figures out his mother has died, it sends him into a frantic state. He begins to show signs of psychosis and starts violently attacking others while announcing: “I want to get out of here! Get me out!” (Walsh). After settling down, Cody talks to his cellmate Fallon, who is an undercover cop, about how they must conjure up a way to escape. They fix up a plan and successfully escape. Fallon inserts his way into Cody’s life and his missions not long after and Cody begins to show trust in Fallon; He goes to the length of saying he will split his cuts 50/50 with Fallon which is seen as Cody’s subconscious need for a partner. During Cody’s last mission, Fallon ends up setting Cody up which unearths Cody’s sense of emptiness again. Fallon’s setup enrages Cody and he shouts: “A copper, a copper, how to do you like that boys? A copper and his name is Fallon. And we went for it, I went for it. Treated him like a kid brother. And I was gonna split fifty-fifty with a copper!” (Walsh). Cody unwittingly putting his trust
When an individual depends on another for their sense of direction they find themselves lacking individuality which ultimately leads to their downfall. Cody Jarrett’s mother's passing led him into a distraught state of mind. Everything he did prior to Ma's death was consulted and he had a forceful attachment to Ma. He has a strong tendency to idealize her as a source of guidance. Cody decides to dedicate his last words to his mom and utters: “Made it, Ma! Top of the world!” (Walsh). After Ma's death, Cody went through a spiral of emotions symbolizing how Ma and Cody's aim of being at the “top of the world” was so close yet so far. That dream “blew up” in Cody's face as soon as he heard of the death of his mother. He gained a new sense of power when he went through his mental craze reaching the “top” of his manic episode. While taking his own destiny in his own hands, Cody becoming a force of nature was the only thing that could stop him and reunite him with his mom.