Monday, October 18, 2010

On the Waterfront

Originally uploaded by Pikturz
On the Waterfront is one of the films that’s bandied about on critic’s top 100 lists, when artists and historians talk about the career of Marlin Brando, and even in the dialogue about unions or the mob. Why? Because the story of Terry Malloy is just as relevant to the American spirit of rebellion and perseverance today as he was when the film was first released.

Let me start by saying that Brando is amazing in this film. What should have been a really simple character is given depth and a soul by the life Brando breathed into him and I can’t imagine how gleeful that must have made the director during filming.

However, the single favorite element in this film for me had to be Father Barry; the priest moved out of the abbey and into the streets because of some harsh words from a parishioner is a picture of the church that I rarely see in the movies. Father Barry gets shaken out of apathy, thinking he can only work God’s work inside his four walls only to remember that God and His people exist outside those walls too, and perhaps he can help them. Barry becomes a champion for the dock workers, taking on their challenges and their dangers in the hopes that he can make a difference.

There is a reason this film is lauded by historians and critics alike as one of the best. It simply is. On the Waterfront is a film that has a soul that’s lived on long after it’s initial audiences sat in a darkened theatre and watched 24fps go before their eyes.

Director: Elia Kazan

No comments: