Two years later, a lawyer shows up and confronts sheriff in New York and approaches Sheriff with bad news. A few days after Sheriff and Tony left Malaysia police raided their camp and found large quantities of hash. Lewis was still there, and was forced to take the blame for it all. Lewis is to be put to death in 8 days, and the only way the charges can be decreased is if the Sheriff and tony return to paradise and take their share of the responsibility. If they do, they both will spend three years in prison. If only one does, he alone will spend six years.
The movie revolves on what decision the two man will make as the lawyer Beth pleads with and plays different ways to convince the two men to return and save her client. Utilitarianism point of view would call for Sheriff to return and take his responsibility while the same theory sees Tony to remain a free man. Utilitarianism calls for the greater good for the greater amount of people. While Tony is a somewhat successful architect who has workers under his command relying on him and would be wife whom he is planning to have children with.
Tony remaining in New York according to Utilitarianism would benefit the larger amount of people. While on the other hand it would call for Sheriffs return as he does not benefit the greater good. Sheriff possesses virtually no assets, does not have a family, and is a limo driver that answers to a boss and commands no one. Kantian ethics would play a different role and I believe these ethics are ultimately the ethics that saw one of the men return for Lewis and Kantian ethics were also the main strategy used by Beth the lawyer.
Kant believed that people should be treated as an end and never as a mere means to an end. It is unethical to use other people for personal gain if those people are to be harmed. In other words you are responsible for your actions and if the chance arises to save someone’s life you should take it because it is what is right. In a way Beth uses this method to convince the two men to return at first. She pleads that they are responsible as well and that simply it is the right thing to do.
Until it is eventually revealed that Beth is Lewis’ sister, therefore she is using the two men for personal gain in having her brother released from death by sacrificing Sheriff and Tony’s freedom. Ross’ elements in ethical theory also play a role in the men’s decisions. Friendship is sacred and Sheriff and tony had to think hard about what friendship was to help them make a decision. Ultimately in the end Sheriff decided to stay and serve his time that would end up being six years because Tony elected not to stay.
Tony chose the Utilitarianism way to go while sheriff used Kantian ethics and a few of Ross’ elements. Sheriff ultimately accepted his portion of the responsibility for the drugs and throwing the bike over the side if the road. This was Kantian ethics. Sheriff also kept his promise to Beth after he almost decided to leave with Tony. Sheriff decided to be a beneficent to help Lewis, He also dedicated himself to self improvement when he said he was tired of not caring. Sheriff accepted the reparation for his crimes and decided to stay for Lewis and even himself.