Mississippi Burning

mississippi burning“What’s wrong with people?”, Ward (Willem Dafoe) asks, as he holds a near dead human between his arms.

If only there was an easy answer.

Sometimes I’ll watch an uplifting film, and in my ecstasy, think that us humans are beautiful, our hearts able to grow to infinity for our neighbor.
Others, I’ll end up with movies like Mississippi Burning, and cry because every single of us creatures of sin is doomed.
The truth lies somewhere in the middle, perhaps.
A perpetual clash between love and hate, acceptance and intolerance, forgiveness and resentment.
In this picture, the battle is between 2 FBI officers, Anderson (Gene Hackman) and Ward, and murderous, racist drinking buddies.
From the ominous opening scene (a car speeding down a highway, being tailed by 3 other vehicles), to the haunting final moments, this is an important movie.
While it excels at being a thriller, the moments that engaged me the most could have easily been in a historical drama.
Indeed, the moment when the Ku Klux Klan show up at a church and start beating parishioners, while a young boy falls to his knees in prayer, could have easily been in 12 Years A Slave, or Selma.

Why do I call this movie important?
I think every feature that deals with the dark side of our humanity should be seen by everyone.
How else are we ever to confront ourselves, to examine our thoughts and doings, and strive to become a better version of ourselves?
It’s easy to dismiss the action as the misdeeds of a couple of racists deep in the South, but aren’t we all capable of evil, call it intolerance, bitterness, arrogance?

Look on John 8:7, and ponder.



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