Movie Nite: the interface of hope and despair

coverIt's been a while since the last Movie Nite post, but given recent world events I think that this Nite's theme is especially timely. The movies are Unforgiven and The Shawshank Redemption. These two movies are the sole non-science fiction, non-humor items on my personal top 10 greatest movies of all time list, and taken together amount to 273 minutes of gripping, emotional, thought-provoking drama that delves deeply into the interface between all that is good and all that is evil in the human condition. Each movie approaches the boundary of human light and darkness from opposite directions, yet ultimately they converge. Unforgiven is about choices, and Shawshank is about strength. Together, they form a parable of how our choices determine our destiny. Philosophically, I find these movies to affirm that there is no predestination, and the answer to the despairing question of God, "why do You not intervene, if You are so powerful?" is simply, "because the choices are yours, not Mine."

coverThe supporting performances by Morgan Freeman in both movies may be coincidence, but I think I detect Providence as well. Freeman plays much the same character in both movies - he plays foil in a sense, unable to really penetrate the deeper struggle of the main character, but by the simple act of friendship forming a powerful influence on the choices each character makes - and the lessons they learn from their experiences. I saw Freeman as the personification of the boundary towards which each protagonist struggles towards at first, then turns away from. And its arguable that only Freeman's character(s) are really changed by the experiences.

This is powerful filmmaking - justifying the very existence of the genre itself.

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