Monday, May 30, 2011

Top Three Heartbreaking Movie Moments

Memorial Day honors those who gave their lives for our country. An obvious day to reminisce, so I thought I would share some memorable movie moments that have really stuck in my head over the years. These top three candidates represents my current viewing cache only, so I would love to hear yours as well.

3) Layer Cake - savage beating
Also known as the "tea pot beating scene", this harrowing revenge sequence features Morty, played by George Harris, unloading on his past acquaintance in crime Freddy, played by Ivan Kaye. Already an outstanding crime drama, this 2004 film cuts to the core of human nature. How could a human do this to another? A prequel to this film would have plenty of ammunition just from this past relationship, but we do get a decent explanation here.

2) Hope Floats - beginning talk show sequence (also read the first paragraph from Lisa S's EW review)
This 1998 divorce drama begins with Sandra Bullock's character Birdee blindsided on a talk show as a friend reveals her affair with Birdee's husband. Heartbreaking, right? Wait until you see the reaction from Birdee and her husband's daughter while the crowd ruthlessly enjoys the bombshell.

1) The Passion of the Christ
No other film has evoked more emotions from me than Mel Gibson's 2004 film depicting the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus. Words fail me, which is exactly the point of the film. This film is a moving painting. The film is so visual that many scenes would not even need subtitles, except maybe for two scenes: Pontius Pilate’s discussion about “truth” with his wife and the Roman soldiers’ actions to the other two men crucified after Jesus dies. Director Mel Gibson captures the essence of what a person would see as a spectator at these events by enhancing the simplest actions with sound, close-ups and slow motion. My most emotional point of the film comes when Mary has a vivid flashback as Jesus falls – a touching sequence that captures the simple love between a mother and son.

As a child, I remember seeing almost pristine images where only a bit of blood would hang from the nail points on the crucifix, these memories are a stark contrast to the portrayal of Jesus’ suffering in The Passion of Christ. The vivid level of violence may cause strong reactions, but does not include flashy style that glorifies the deplorable actions. Most importantly, the violence ultimately yields grace, love and salvation for all. The short flashbacks give you necessary breaks from the violence while providing more background about Jesus’ life, His important messages and His humanity. Everyone has perceived ideas about Jesus’ life before seeing this film, but now people are paying special attention to the money the film is making which deflects the meaning of the film - Jesus died for everyone, the sins of the whole world, not for one particular generation or people.


Cyn said...

Having watched Passion of the Christ at the theater, I've never been able to watch it again. I bought the DVD the day it came out and it sits there wrapped in plastic. A few times a year, especially near Easter, I think about watching it. But I find it too difficult. It's not suprising that many reports say making this film followed so quickly by Apocolypto lead to Mel Gibson breaking down and drinking heavily, a downward spiral he is still struggling with. If you believe, you are left with such a sense of shame for every time you did something that made you unworthy of such a sacrifice.

Cyn said...

I saw this movie once at the theater but have been unable to watch it again, even though I bought the DVD the day it came out. It's just too powerful. It's no surprise that many reports say making this film followed by Apocolypto led to a break down and heavy drinking for Mel Gibson. A downward spiral, he is still struggling to emerge from. If you believe, this film provokes such an overwhelming sense of shame for every action you've taken in this life that is not worthy of such a sacrifice on your behalf. It is hopeful as well. I know some reviewers tried to paint it as anti-semetic. Odd since it opens with the question that begins Passover meals "Why is this night different from other nights?" and Jesus is more clearly a practicing Jew than in any other film I've seen. But it leaves you with this to ponder: Jesus suffered and died horribly for me. What have I done today to deserve it?