Sunday, March 15, 2009

Best oneliner heard recently in a movie

click to enlarge  —  screencap by jacob

Railroad security professional, after throwing the film’s hero to the ground out of a boxcar and kicking the shit out of him:

“Show me your face... I never, ever, ever forget a face. If I see yours again, I won’t arrest you, I’ll kill you. This is the goddamn railroad, and we will do whatever we have to do to keep you freeloaders from violating our liability.”

N.B. I award this film Four Stars; however, cognisant of my own liability, I have to add that this in no way endorses the kind of recklessness manifested by the film’s flawed hero, Chris McCandless.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Caz said...

Having read so much about this true story, I've 'put off' seeing the film as the subject matter doesn't exactly warm the cockles of the heart.

But, that line alone is worth the DVD hire price.

(Flawed hero might be an understatement, or a kindness too far.)

16/3/09 3:43 PM  
Anonymous Jacob said...

Another line I quite liked was when, after McCandless drunkenly sets out his plans and motivations, his equally drunk friend Wayne taps him on the forehead saying, "This is a mistake!"

Wayne makes some refreshingly good sense - "It's a mistake to be getting too deeply into all that stuff..." - but then (according to the film) loses his thread and starts spinning a tale about Roswell 1947. A rather fateful diversion.

So what can one make of a young man with such potential, who takes to a life of "tramping" by choice, in distinction to depression era drifters (such as Loren Eiseley, a hero of mine) who were propelled by force of circumstance into such a life of privation.

The sense I get is that this young man suffered chronically from depression, obviously owing in large part to his family issues, some of which must have been quite traumatic. The course of abnegation he set himself upon arguably was reinforced, even encouraged, by the assortment of characters with whom he crossed paths.

Even the old man who wanted to adopt him seemed to admire McCandless' youthful adventurism, which at worst must have seemed to verge on the recklessness only to be expected in youth. That's a point I myself keep going back and forth on.

His grieving sister took the understandably romantic view that "Chris was writing his story in his own way, etc." As for his parents, they evidently collaborated somewhat in the making of the film, but it could be illuminating to hear further of their thoughts on their son's "story" as depicted.

I've also read a little into the background, but still wonder whether the railroad nazi incident really happened, at least as depicted in the film. If so, then it's an incident which would have added to the sense of alienation of a young man suffering depression. But if not, then it's a delightful bit of folklore which, unfortunately perhaps, will inevitably feed the legend.

In many ways this is a very moving and technically stunning film. Notably, however, in romanticising McCandless' story, it misses details such as the repeated entreaties of the guy who drove him to the trailhead to better prepare himself for that trek "into the wild".

Whatever we can say against McCandless and his story, it's to his credit that he very much "owned" his fate. What were effectively his last words to the world were of kindness: "I have had a happy life and thank the Lord. Goodbye and may God bless all!"

Not a bad epitaph, when all's said and done.

16/3/09 6:47 PM  

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