Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Forrest Gump ★★★★

    In the vast world of cinema, there are pictures that are built to bring us joy for just a fleeting period of our existence. Their run is often short lived and becomes nothing more than a grain of sand in the hourglass of time. On the contrary, are films that are constructed to endure. To remain in our consciousness, even if thousands of pictures are released henceforth. "Forrest Gump" is undeniably categorized with the latter.

    As this film justifiably receives its twentieth-anniversary release and an IMAX treatment, we are transported to a realm of pure euphoria. The rich characterizations that touched our hearts so many years ago are brought to life on the silver screen once more. A warmth that has not been felt for years on end is now present again. And what a feeling it is.

    Instead of droning on about the plot of the film, which is inescapable with regard to a new release, I will discuss what makes this picture a lasting portrait of splendor. With a sufficient amount of symbolism, a convivial soundtrack and score, and a remarkable theme of character, "Forrest Gump" reassures its position as one of the greatest experiences of all time.

    Straying away from a linear structure, our story begins "in media res," or in the midst of things. As Forrest sits patiently on that famous bench in Savannah, Georgia, to catch the number nine bus, he divulges into past events of a glorious life that has seen moments of agony, confusion, and unrelenting happiness; a film has never been better suited for flashbacks.

    His journey from adolescence to adulthood has been accompanied by unforgettable personalities. Lt. Dan Conner, a strong presence over the duration of Forrest's life, begrudgingly becomes the dramatic foil, which brings Forrest's traits into a bold spotlight. Lt. Dan is extremely conscious of his destiny, a notion that our main character can never fully grasp, and has a pessimistic view of the world. Opposed to Forrest, who seems to find joy where it would most certainly seem forgotten.

    Jenny, the love of Forrest's life, is a dynamic character to say the least. She roams the countryside searching for answers and ingests the various drugs introduced through the decades to fill the void that her abusive childhood inevitably created. Her attraction to Forrest is complicated and is never fully realized until time had taken its toll. (This may be due to her feelings of disdain and the thoughts of unworthiness.)

    Within these contexts, Forrest absolutely becomes one of the most lovable characters in recent memory. His lack of understanding and situational awkwardness lends the opportunity for a respectable dosage of humor. These distinctions also pave the way for several heartwarming, and even disheartening, scenes in which Forrest is shown the harsh facets of reality.

    "Forrest Gump" is littered with symbolism to support the boundaries of its design. The bus is a terrific depiction of new opportunity, appearing whenever Forrest transitions from one phase of his life to the next. Whether it is the beginning of his school career, a stint with the Army or the passage into fatherhood, a bus becomes the vehicle of metaphorical conveyance.

    Additionally, there is the white feather. Its presence at the beginning and the end of the film warrants some level of recognition. Its subtle approach through the air of this fictional realm, through traffic, and ultimately into Forrest's personal space, symbolizes the frailty and delicateness of life. A conviction that Forrest touches upon in one of the most beautiful scenes of the picture.

    There is no discernible "major" conflict in "Forrest Gump." His trials and tribulations can be related to any real living human being. The death of a parent, the loss of a spouse, and ultimately, the search for identity. "What's my destiny mama?" A question Forrest desperately asks his mother on her bedside. A question that is never really answered, although one can come to their own conclusions.

    One of the most brilliant aspects of this film includes the utilization of the stock characters, who sit beside Forrest and indulge in his stories of glory, loss, and innocence. They also reside in his tales. The female college roommate, who overhears an intimate moment. The barbershop patrons, who continually seem dumbfounded by breaking news on the shop's television. The drunken simpletons, who taint Jenny's dream of singing on stage.

    Robert Zemeckis has crafted a brilliant picture and his motivation is clear. We are not meant to simply view Forrest's life, but become a part of it. This becomes evident during a confrontation between Forrest and Lt. Dan in the wounded barracks. The camera swings around the bottom of the bed, as they interact on the floor, settling under the bed at a side angle. Thus, giving off the feeling that we are eavesdropping on a private conversation.

    The performance of Tom Hanks need not be discussed. His acting will speak for itself. Hanks will always be Forrest Gump.

    This is a film that I hold dearly to my heart. It is a film that I can view every day and never persuade myself that its repetition would bore me. My favorite scene involves a recollection of Forrest's, as he sits beside the bed of Jenny. It is accompanied by some of the most aesthetically pleasing scenes I've ever laid eyes upon.

    The key to "Forrest Gump" is its expression of humanness, and essentially, emotional restraint. This is very important to any picture that defines itself as a serious drama. This quintessential performance of this element places the sentimentality at hand in a position to succeed invariably. It never fails to reach out and grab the audience by their emotional cord and never let go. It creates a feeling that you never want to end.

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