Movies Don't Entertain Us, They Assign Us Roles

In & Out



               “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” - you either take it or leave it. So, “go ahead, make my day” because “frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”. 

Ah, the bliss. God bless movies and God bless movie characters. Over the years, we have been fortunate enough to witness some truly iconic movie characters - some bold and cunning, some desolate and pitiful and some, just plain old badass. Agree or not, it is the characters that appeal to us more than the general idea that the director is trying to put forward - for the simple reason that the cast in a movie is the only bit that is in constant motion. They call it a motion picture, after all. Characters light up a movie plot and a movie plot lights our conscience up enabling ourselves to look at the world through someone else’s shades. It is a beautiful thing, really. All in all, placing ourselves in someone else’s shoes and looking at the world from his perspective is undeniably our favourite pastime. This is exactly what movies and the roles that actors play bring for us. So, long live movie characters. Keep them coming more.



Have you ever imagined if it were you and not Tom Hanks leading an army of miserable and homesick to meet their demise in Saving Private Ryan, or you and not Barry Newman breaking the sunset landscape of San Francisco in your 1970 Dodge Challenger in Vanishing Point? Oh, who am I kidding? Of course, you have. He is only a fool who passes on an opportunity to imagine living a life quite different from the malarkey he has to make do with everyday. Movies have boundless influence on our thoughts and lifestyle. The one thing that any form of celluloid media does really well is show us the lives of others - the sort of people we do not come across everyday. This, believe it or not, is a wonderful teacher. After all, who else is going to give us a glimpse of what the phrase “harsh reality” actually means - certainly not our friends and definitely not our parents? That is where movie characters come in. Taking the examples of movies like Shawshank Redemption and Les Misérables, we are introduced to the concept of relentless hardships in a man’s life. The sort of appreciation we have for some of the most inspiring movies of all time reflect in the love for and worship of the movie characters. We feel pity, empathy and to the very least, sorry for a person we do not really know. That sparks love and admiration in our eyes for them. We become so fond of them that, in a way, we become them. A spectacular culmination of the best elements of these fictional characters is a changed man who is ready to look at the world in a different light.

There are many other genres too that never fail to stimulate our creative minds. The closest ones that come to mind are mafia flicks and good old spaghetti westerns. “There are two kinds of people in this world; the ones with loaded guns and the ones who dig. You dig.”- probably being one of the most revised and re-versed dialogues in the world, western classics like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and mafia classics like The Godfather trilogy appeal to us on a different level entirely. We don’t particularly adore them. We just desperately want to be an angry Clint Eastwood or a calm and composed Al Pacino. The credit for making such one-off characters so desirable definitely goes to the impeccable portrayal of them by the actors and the equally impressive direction. The selling factor of such movies however, depends entirely on the “badass factor” and since a formidable exterior and an air or cool is what we all seek, it is an uncanny win-win. I am not even going to waste your time by mentioning superhero movies. Wearing a make-believe cape and jumping on the bed pretending to be superman is what we all did. No surprises there.

The crux of the matter is that the many roles that actors play somehow inspire us in some way or the other, and in some wayward fashion that only habits can explain. The fact remains that if not for movies and the colourful characters they come with, our lives would have been bland and monochrome. We would not have known about the world, about other people, about alien lifestyles or about anything significant. 

Movies should always exist, throwing light on the many aspects of human lives, making us more knowledgeable and rounded people. It is as the comedy legend, Charlie Chaplin, used to say, “In the end, everything is a gag”.

Photography By: Sandhya Varghese