Into the Wild


Nowhere is the astonishing hypocrisy that led to Christopher McCandless’s (Emile Hirsch) demise evidenced as clearly as in a pair of scenes that take place a little over halfway through the film.

Saying his goodbyes to Tracy T (Kristen Stewart), the girl who’s been crushing on him since day one, he speaks what in his mind must have sounded like the words of a prophet. “And remember, if you want something in life, reach out and grab it”.
It’s an absurd philosophy.
Two scenes earlier, Tracy had tried to do just that. Wanting to be with Christopher, she called him into her room, took her clothes off, laid in bed, and then…stayed there while Christopher politely rejected her.¬†She had tried grabbing what she wanted, and had failed miserably.

Of course such manner of platitudes sound good, and they may make us feel even better. To live fervently adhered to a moral code we believe superior than those of our neighbors is a rush; who doesn’t love being the smartest person in the room? Taking it to the extreme, Christopher exiles himself, far from the company of his lesser peers. And while most of us possess enough judgement to stray from such wild endeavors, there is something to be learned from all this.

All along, Christopher proclaims the urgency of the truth. The movie hammers home the importance of forgiveness. A character even declares that when we forgive, God’s light shines upon us. The truth is the only way to a happy life, then; I know what path I’m on. Do you?




Avengers: Infinity War


The universal language of hope is why this flick has broken every box office record in history. As cinema it is not particularly profound, nor does it prove insightful to the follies and manners of humankind. But who really needs our nature to play out on the screen, when most of us go to the theater to escape reality, not dive deeper into it?

Superhero movies are box office behemoths because they portray the world as it should be-sure, there’s extraterrestrial invasions all the time, but there are also men and women of good, men and women who do right for right’s sake, who willingly lay down their lives for strangers, and who will never stop until all darkness has been vanquished.

It is this what we aspire to do, to be able to correct the wicked course of the world. Superhero movies are wildly, maniacally successful because they display our dire need for a savior, and how incredibly cool it looks when we finally let them take the wheel.


Schindler’s List

schindlerIn the annals of cinema history, few pictures can match the devastating effect Schindler’s List has on the viewer.
Long I’d heard about this movie; online and off, I had encountered many raves and praises, yet nothing could have prepared me for those actual three hours of history that Steven Spielberg managed to capture on celluloid.

Without a doubt his magnum opus, Spielberg must have found production the most emotionally demanding of his film career, as there is no way any sane person can go over such ghastly events on a day to day basis without it affecting its psyche. For the effort alone, the director must be commended. But going through all that and producing what is perhaps the finest and most haunting film about the Holocaust ever made? There are simply no words.

Shot on beautiful black and white photography, Schindler’s List never asks us to cry. It never demands us to come face to face with the worst parts of our humanity. By feeling more like a documentary than a straight narrative, it simply moves from one event to the other, never commenting on what the characters do. It exists, and we are witnesses to what is presented to the camera. I imagine there can be a multitude of reactions a person can have while watching this, but I doubt indifference is one of them. This is a movie in which the only way not to feel a thing would be to turn it off, for the camera has such power it nearly comes alive.

I was reminded of Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, and I found the thought curious, so I further prodded my mind.
It is not that both films address the horrors humans are capable of inflicting upon each other, nor that they are handled in the same way, with the camera never intruding in the proceedings, but merely standing by, silently witnessing each atrocity. I think it was because I looked to myself and wondered, “Would you be capable of doing this to a fellow human being?”

The tragedy is that we all can. We are a fallen people, and it is astounding that we have made it this far without tearing each other apart. What’s most astounding is that a Savior would willingly give His life for us. Because we do not deserve it, do we? Yet, by love and love alone, we are freed from shame and sin and death, and are able to look up at the sky and smile. For we are forgiven.

May we strive, every single day of our existence, to live right in this world. To do good. Let the Schindler’s of this life overcome the Goethe’s. May hope defeat bleakness, and light swallow darkness.
It is the only reasonable way to live.