Zen and the art of nice little details which all directors should put in their motion pictures because they are really rewarding when you see them

Sometimes it's the nice, subtle details that make movies work for me.

Last night, I was watching Charlie Wilson's War and was skeptical about the lack of overview. The movie, a historically mostly accurate pic written by Aaron Sorkin, seemed to be told more or less as a West Wing-style funny/serious romp through the cold war-bureaucracy of Washington and the Middle East, told from within the ethical and ideological framework of the cold war itself. Killing Russians was treated as a joke (granted, the Russians were in the process of killing innocent civilians at the time, but still) and there was very little in the way skepticism about what Charlie Wilson was doing. Which, in case you haven't seen the film, was supplying the Afghan Mujahedin resistance with weapons and training. This actually happened.

Except suddenly, near the end, Wilson is throwing a party in his apartment. The CIA agent Gust Avrakotos and him are standing on the balcony of his apartment, and the agent holds the following little speech:
Gust Avrakotos
There's a little boy and on his 14th birthday he gets a horse... and everybody in the village says, "how wonderful. the boy got a horse" And the Zen master says, "we'll see." Two years later The boy falls off the horse, breaks his leg, and everybody in the village says, "how terrible." And the Zen master says, "We'll see." Then a war breaks out and all the young men have to go off and fight... except the boy can't, cause his leg's messed up. and everyone in the village says, "How wonderful."

Charlie Wilson
And the Zen master says, "We'll see."
And just as this line is spoken, the background noise of the scene becomes that of a jetliner crossing the sky.

Earlier in the movie, we have been delicately told that Wilson's apartment overlooks the Pentagon. It's all a nice, subtle wink and nod at 9/11 and the connection between the attacks and the Afhganistan situation and Bin Laden and everything, and it totally made the movie for me.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Blogger Markus Gaupås Johansen said...

A sensitive guy, you are! By the way, I have not seen one american action movie where there hasn´t been at leat one interesting speech. Well, semi-interesting, anyway, but still: Most Hollywood movies got their moments, I think.

June 15, 2008 8:34 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home