Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Forrest Gump" (1994) - Movie Classics

I read here and there on the net and came to note that most of the people who reviewed “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” could not able to skip mentioning its resemblance to the classic “Forrest Gump”. Apart from sharing the same writer Eric Roth, its semblance is nothing more than an epic story of a fictional man. It is true though that the writer had some kind of inclination in reminiscing the days of creating Forrest Gump in Tom Hanks through certain dialogues in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. It never crossed the quality of the film though.

“Forrest Gump” was in basket of many movies which passed right in front of me and missed its view when the whole world witnessed it as a phenomenon in 1994. Although there was another unnoticed classic being in its roots which unfortunately came along with this film but sure got its recognition later. That would be “The Shawshank Redemption”. Today through my regular lazy Sunday I skimmed through the DVD shelf of mine and in the list of films to be watched, I dug in to this. And how much more can be fitting to be viewed on a lazy Sunday afternoon to kick off the hazy mood I had.

Forrest Gump sits with his box of chocolates in one of the benches of Savannah and begins to narrate his life story to strangers. Out there when the feather from the far sky finds its way to his foot steps, it is a symbol for a fairy tale story. With the regular apt and artistic interruption from realities of life, the film happens in the land where people are not immediately pulled in back by the outspoken and a rather shifted style of speech by Gump. He is bullied and put down as a kid by his home town boys in the state of Alabama but he clings on to the words of his Mama (Sally Field) and his child hood sweet heart Jenny (Robin Wright) to run and take the road in his times. And when he grows up he begins to meet the people who steers his life through their friend ship in Bubba (Mykelti Williamson) and Lieutenant Dan which Gary Sinise makes an enlightening performance of it.

Forrest Gump is shown as a man of adventures as Sinbad or the stories we have heard as kids. He is of course not the regular kind of protagonist as kids would see as role model. He has the skills which comes natural and the key part in separating from the rest is that he as other people never sees it as a specialty. He never sees as some one away from the crowd. He sees it as a simple thing life has to offer him and he leads on the path where he is led on by his spontaneity. As his couple of years in long running along the country which he does for no particular reason, his days that are kept busy by the tasks he gets into are without reasons. They are the sands of time for the love he wants to learn, attain and live.

Tom Hanks in one another discussion with the friend who I had argument for Tom Cruise too mentioned his problems with Hanks. But not as bad as he had his spite for Cruise. I remember him saying Hanks bringing Hanks in his characters. I am not sure what his view on this film but if he has, our friendship is on line. There are filmmakers and critics who talk about commitment to a character. I have seen great performances and I am sure every one had them committed to their character but this is the film which shows it. Tom Hanks does not create Forrest Gump as man with monotonic voice over along with a slight modification in mood but he makes him a person of emotions. If on the face of Earth comes a man like Gump then he would cry like what Hanks’ Gump does and run like Hanks’ Gump.

Robert Zemeckis went ahead to collaborate with another classic favourite of mine with Tom Hanks, “Cast Away”. And in “Forrest Gump” the skill in the screenplay of Eric Roth does not get lost in the making over the white screen. It savours in showing this character because Zemeckis understands the character through the screenplay. He treats him as a person jumping from the worlds of a story book into the reality of this world for a period in this film.

The songs resonating the times, the historic footage of many rhyming the times and the props and people and moments are all sounds of the times passed by. It does not advocate values or way of life but a clear sense of story telling. It is a bed time stories for adults ready to sleep in the corporate world and wake up for their clock work or may be kick off a life they wish would have or find the hidden happiness existing right around the corner of their house. “Forrest Gump” in accumulating the times of the past several decades became a land mark of its own time.

Despite my thorough enjoyment of the film, I was wondering what caught the attention of the audience world wide to really make a critically acclaimed film a box office hit. What do they see in it which made them to never forget the film and make memories surrounding it? Many would say a sense of principles reflecting the traditional American way of life or some would say the beauty of film making. It is of course a slice of an American life hidden in the towns and counties of the country. Yet it does not preach anything what is right or wrong. It is also a beauty of the film making in providing a pleasure time with an empathizing character. But most of all it is that time wherein we forget ourselves in listening to a story. The story we are so awed and absorbed by the adventures of some one fictional in a world so different from ours. We begin to believe in putting ourselves in that land of fiction and swim through it. As kids it was so real and posed as an inch away from the life we led on. The growing up withers the beauty and mounts the cynicism. I believe “Forrest Gump” took every one to that time when fiction was real and the possibilities were endless. For me it is the reason why I watch the films and why I love every single minute of it.


Barath said...

super review boss...I never knew it was a box office hit that time. Your reasoning for it was very nicely written!

Ashok said...

Thanks Boss. It was a big time hit at that point of time.

Shiva Kumar said...

hi Ashok, good review. I think the movie was so appealing to such a wide audience because it took a lighter approach at hardships in life and was mixed with good sense of humor which makes you laugh even if you dont understand the entire context. when i first watched the movie i had no idea of the history and the famous moments they captured but it i still felt it was good story and came out feeling good about how one is capable of making a difference even with limited abilities.