In philosophical discourse, one way of considering the question of why we should be moral has been through hypothetical scenarios in which being moral becomes an option, rather than simply a given. Most of the time, shaped as we are by our upbringing and culture, we do the right thing without giving it much thought. But when faced with a situation where we can do anything, no matter how wicked, without fear of punishment, or where doing the wrong thing seems more rewarding than doing the right thing, the question of why we should be moral naturally arises. Film, in a position to pose hypothetical scenarios of this sort, offers an opportunity for exploring such considerations. In addition, by posing these hypothetical scenarios in the form of concrete, emotionally engaging narratives, film can capture something else as well, the question’s “existential” aspect. Whether to be moral is not simply an abstract theoretical question, but a deeply practical concern, of how one is to live, whether to commit oneself to a particular way of life.
The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film p. 591-599