Thursday, January 12, 2006

Movie Review -- Forrest Gump

This is supposed to be one of the things I’ve always wanted to do—review movies. The other thing is book review which I hope would soon follow.

Well, I saw this movie for the third time and I am not counting the number of times I’ve seen clips of the movies on Star Movies and it’s only after this long that I finally understood the purport of the movie. The review is as follows:

The basic idea of the movie is echoed in the lines “Run Forrest Run” and “Life is like a box of chocolates”. These are the lines that run through the entire movie as a kind of leitmotif. The movie shows the extraordinarily simple Forrest sail through everything with the aid of his extraordinary luck. It shows Lieutenant Dan finally reconcile himself to the idea that each man is the master of his own destiny and runs his life the way he wants to, in opposition to his earlier idea of a set and separate predetermined destiny. Finally he makes his peace with God and life.

The entire biography of Gump is set against the tumultuous history of the U.S. during the ‘60s and the ‘70s. You are driven across the numerous assassinations and scandals and wars and movements that defined the moods in those times. This is done rather cleverly with the protagonist going through the political and war stuff and the cultural revolution of the Hippies is reflected through the life of Jenny. So the dichotomy covers about everything from history to geography (literally, in the now legendary Forrest’s Run for three years). And yet it would be wrong to take the entire movie for a commentary on U.S. history with the life of Forrest as a background. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. The American history forms the background and the basic, really basic philosophy that the Director Robert Zemeckis wants to convey takes the centre stage.

Now to the philosophy that the movie represents: The movie calls you to run whenever you are in doubt. The movie calls you to run whenever assailed by doubts, problems, enemies……whatever. Again, it is important to note that running is not synonymous with escaping; quite the opposite. Running here signifies getting along with life. It underlines the need to keep moving no matter what happens. The three year run of Forrest is a run that is purely symbolic. It has absolutely no significance other than that. There is no need for him to run, there is no purpose, no world peace to espouse, no women’s right to champion. It’s simply an action that signifies moving on especially after the heartbreak with Jenny.

You are no different from any other human. You are the master of your own destiny. Or maybe it’s a combination of both the factors operating simultaneously—you being in control of your destiny and there being some other predetermined destiny in store for you.

This movie also deplores the pseudo, hollow intellectualism that is represented by Jenny. It champions simplicity and a belief in certain core values like running. Everything else is an embellishment, an expendable entity that can be dispensed with. Through the imbecility and yet miraculous success of Forrest, the Director lampoons this gratuitous intellectuality and skepticism. The extraordinary good fortune of Forrest comes only because he doesn’t (or maybe he can’t) get involved in hollow fundays about life, because he doesn’t involve himself in intellectual masturbation. He keeps running and running and running all the time. This is what life is all about—running. Forrest is the personification of the will to live devoid of the pseudo-ness that arbit intellectuality loads on to you.

It, like “Shawshank Redemption” is a movie that will help you in the darkest of times, filling you with hope and gladness. It truly is, on of the finest pictures that I have seen.

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