Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Power of Cinema

I sit here watching The Patriot and try to pinpoint what it is that I have always loved about this movie.

I think that it is the fact that it truly embodies so many of the best qualities we may aspire to as a people.

Benjamin Martin was a man who did terrible things in his youth, a bloody retribution for horrible things inflicted against his people. It stopped more death, but cost him a piece of his soul. For this, he was a hero to all who knew of his deeds. He built a life, and a family, in an attempt to make up for what he had done. And lost a wife in childbirth.

War came calling again. The peace he had sacrificed so much for was evaporating, and threatened his family. When he lost a child to an act of barbarity, instinct took over, much to the sorrow of the British. A quiet resolve, and occasional gallows humor, took over and through the pain and horror that followed, he chose to "Stay the Course", as so many did, to gain something for future generations.

He was a haunted man who saw his misfortune as his sins revisiting themselves upon him. But this quiet resolve and and endless devotion to his family helped to bring about something better. Something I sometimes fear we have lost as a country. But I always carry it away with me when I see this movie. I can only hope that if presented with similar challenges, I can face them with equal determination.