Review Date: October 07, 2005
Director: Paul Haggis
Writer: Paul Haggis, Robert Moresco
Producers: Paul Haggis, Don Cheadle, Mark Harris
Matt Dillion as Officer Ryan
Thandie Newton as Christine
Sandra Bullock as Jean
The film reminded me of a saying that one of my buddies once tossed out there, which stuck to me throughout my life and that is that most people in the world are genuinely “good”, but its their behavior and attitude that will determine whether or not they are actually “good” or “bad” people. My friend had called another person we both knew an “asshole”, which I knew not to be true, so I replied back, “He’s not an asshole, he’s actually a nice guy.” My buddy replied back, “Hey, he may be a nice guy, but he still acts like an asshole…which to me, makes him an asshole!” My point being, and the general undertone of this entire motion picture, and maybe even life in general (wow, this review is getting “deep”), is that you never really know where another person is coming from when you meet them, or even when you just share a moment or two with them in life. Everyone’s experiences have shaped and made them into what they are today, but that doesn’t mean that you needn’t attempt to shape yourself into a better or stronger person, instead of simply resigning yourself to the place to which you’ve been appointed. The greatest part about this movie is that even though it does represent the darkest sides of people living in America today, across all races, it also doesn’t spray them all with the same stink, allowing each person to make decisions and consider changes that inevitably amend their lives, either for the better or worse.
It’s like I used to tell my ex-girlfriend, “Tomorrow is yet another day for you to begin to become who you want to be.” People use their past experiences, their upbringings or anything “external” to explain their behavior and shit, but the truth is that YOU have total control of yourself and YOU make every single decision in your life every single day. The characters in this film were all believable, and despite all of their circumstances ultimately clashing like they might in a “movie”, none of it came across as contrived to me (in fact, I choked up on more than one occasion, thank you very much!), surely because of the amazing writing job by the film’s creators, as well as all of the actors who brought depth to every one of their characters (oddly enough, even Ludacris dropped in a solid performance). The only “negative” that I can note about this film is that I actually wanted it to be longer…another half an hour would likely have added even more to the story, but alas, one should also know when to stop eating a great meal, so maybe I was just asking to be overstuffed. Thankfully, the movie doesn’t tie everything and every story up with a nice pink bow, but does bring to fro the notion that many people in the world forget to incorporate into their daily lives and expectations, particularly in the ever-growing, cynical and anti-social environment in which we are living these days, and that is the notion of hope. I generally reserve this saying to only one or two movies a year, so here’s this year’s refrain: everyone should see this movie.