Friday, June 03, 2005


Movie Review: Faith of our Fathers

I just finished watching a great movie. First, there were a couple of themes that rang true to me. His father, John McCain's, instilled the necessity of honor. I wasn't really taught using that term. In my family, it was distilled to right and wrong. I wasn't really introduced to the familial honor notion until I met my friend from Jordan in my freshman year in college. Over coffee right after we met, she explained that her family and their values ran around that central belief. In fact, she noted that it was always in the back of her mind as she made decisions. In the movie, Admiral McCain drills this concept into Senator McCain to the point that it rings in his ears as he is in the Hanoi Hilton. Of all of the experiences in anyone's life where it would be understandable to behave with less honor, that would be it. This movie reminds us that he made his father proud.
Another theme that struck me was torture. We have had a very contentious debate about what is and is not torture. Is it torture to put a barking dog near a naked prisoner? In this two hour movie, we get only a very short, sanitized view of the kind of behavior that no one needs question whether it falls within the definition of torture. It is a real reminder of what it really is and strangely made me question how close to torture we really want to get. This movie was not meant to make us think. They make very clear who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. In our everyday, however, we need to be thinking and debating how we keep our status as the good guys. If it was so clear who the bad guys were by their treatment of our American hero, then should we be so content with borderline torturous treatment of our prisoners? I am not sure how I feel about the topic as I realize that this may be as a result of seeing a re-enactment of torture of a man that I have come to really respect. I am glad, however, that seeing this has caused me to want to think through this question more clearly.
What is evident as the movie closes is that this man is stronger in heart, in will, and in integrity than I could ever dream to be. The others there that showed similar strength in character who are not famous need to be. When you consider that I was a bit nervous about watching a two hour re-enactment of this sadistic endurance test, but that they had to live it for those years, I got a sense that I have lived a lovely existence. I am grateful for my own good sense to take the time to see what real heroes do in the worst of circumstances. Thank God for men like him.

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