Two astronomers find out that a comet is about to hit the planet in six months. So they try to explain and alarm the catastrophic situation to the president and to the media but to their shock, no one believes them or takes them seriously. Instead, Adam Mckay shows a deep disturbing materialistic world where humans are greedy, careless, and irresponsible.
Don’t Look Up is a mockumentary or an ugly horoscopic ultra-predictor of the cosmic negligence that is excessively thoughtful. The elements may connect to everything how the world revolves now like global politics or global warming. Adam Mckay since The Big Short has been pretty much critical about US politics and the new dark dramedy is a poetic way of protesting.
I think the film will definitely make rounds at the Oscars. Nominations for the best editing, original screenplay, actor, actress, director, and picture look very likely to me. The final thirty minutes were simultaneously disturbing, destructive, and melancholic. Looking at the plotline, I was eager to know how the film is going to conclude and Adam Mckay perfectly put it to an end. Don’t Look Up definitely is one of the best films of the year.
“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.”
[“Mr. Qaisar! We have observed your CV and expect you to visit our office today at 1’o’clock sharp. Regards, William Proctor.”]
Minutes have crossed since I received the message but I am still not accepting that there is still hope. I can still cope.
I am reading the message again. Finger-pointing each and every word. Yes, I am asked to reach at 1.
*LOOKING AT MIRROR*
♪ This time tomorrow where will we be
On a spaceship somewhere sailing across an empty sea ♪
I slowly touch my throat, gulp and feel the movement over there. I shake my head in shock. I am still wearing the shorts I vomited and piddled. The exploding heart has slowed down in these past few minutes. The house is silent. My shrieking ears have gone deaf. Push, my fatty, is returning with contentment by seeing me normal but after sniffing my shorts, she leaves within the seconds disgruntled.
Although, this is just a response to the job opportunity so I must not fall deluded believing that I will get the job. They are obviously calling me for an interview. And there will be many more prospects waiting for their turn. Which means I will not be alone. I will be surrounded by many bootlickers with no quality experience but strong reference. Or I may be adjoined by the candidates with fake CVs who really are digging jobs like me but do not have work experience. But will I get the job? I cannot refuse to visit the office just because I am not prepared for this. Forty-five minutes is too rapid and difficult to manage coming out of a suicide attempt to reaching the office.
A suicide attempt! Yes, Qaisar. A few minutes ago, you were about to take your life with a sorry note to your brother. Is this the sign? Was Qaisar waiting for this all these months? Is this why you lost your job?
Gosh, my hands and feet are still shaking. I feel stomach ache. I have to be sober and try to come back to my senses. Ponder, Qaisar! Ponder! I’ll take the bath and wear the most suitable attire for the job interview.
Oh, wait! My car! *palm slap on forehead* Oh my car! It is at the car repair shop. I emptied my wallet this morning. I don’t have money for transport. It is a very important moment in my life. I see no other solution than asking my neighbor for a favor. And I hope my neighbor be kind enough to lend me some money as I feel embarrassed to ask them every week. I am afraid that one day, I will disappoint so many people when they ask me to return.
I am thinking but I am not thinking. I am confounded but excited. My brain, my throat, my stomach is still sensing the aches. Recovery will take time but I don’t have enough… time. So what I am going to do is prepare a strong coffee and take a quick cold shower.
Relax, Qaisar! Everything will be alright. This message is the indication that I will have good news by the end of the day. Be optimistic, Qaisar! Be optimistic!
♪ I don’t know where I’m going, I don’t want to see
I feel the world below me looking up at me ♪
ONLY 40 MINUTES AFTER ATTEMPTING TO COMMIT SUICIDE
To the receptionist, “Good day, madam. Mr. Proctor asked me to show up at-”
“Aaah Mr. Qaisar! The name is William Proctor. I mailed you an hour ago to join at this precise time. *looking at his watch*”
“Oh! Mr. Proctor! Good to see you, Sir.”
“I cannot share both the titles simultaneously. You can simply call me by my name. But if you still insist, then add Mr. and avoid the first name.”
“Very well Proctor Sir. Ssorry, Mr. Proctor.”
“Are you in haste? Do you have an appointment at two different places at a similar time?”
“No no. Actually, I wasn’t ready for…. Mr. Proctor! Maybe we should discuss the reason I am called for.”
“Mr. Qaisar! Please have a seat in the guest room. Be prepared when your name is announced. Then I will respectfully escort you to Mr. Rodriquez.”
“*nodding* espectflee scort you to Mr. Rodriquez. *losing confidence* Understood. Thank you.”
When I enter the guest room, it is already full of my competitors looking for a white-collar job. As soon as the door opens, they all stare at me. Some of them smirk to make me feel sheepish. I have undergone this all my life. I remember such similar awkward memories like my parents introducing me to their entire ugly extended family in the hometown when I was a kid, or when I was stepping in the school bus and then in the classroom for the first time and in the waiting rooms of the hospitals.
I have been sitting for the past couple of hours and almost a dozen candidates have left. And then, when the time is near to call my name, I realize that I have come to the office empty-handed and looking around hither and thither like a nincompoop. Like a panicked Basil Fawlty. In hurriedness, I left all my project notes from my previous works behind. I look at my palms and then bury my face in it. My palms had the boldness to hold a knife but cannot occupy with the documents. I have badly forgotten the documents on the dining table. *reasoning* Is this why some of the candidates were smirking at me?
I raise and look at myself in the mirror and to my misery, I notice that the visible portion of my shirt between the sides of the suit jacket has visible marks of my old sweat.
“Mr. Qaisar Amjad! Your wait is over. Let me escort you.”
At the corridor, I am receiving a call. Oh my God! It is Nizam! I forgot to call him.
“Brother! At least answer my phone.”
“I.I.I’m so sorry. I am about to give a job invertiew. Call you later, bye.”
I step on Mr. Proctor’s shoe. What a terrible mistake! While I stepped on him, I notice that I am wearing a pair of running shoes.
“Oh, I am so sorry, I.I.I don’t know how did I step on-”
“Never mind Mr. Qaisar. It was-”
“A.Allow me allow me to collect your documents and and *thinking* your coupons, Sir”
“Coupons, Sir. These are, are they?”
“It is coupons, Mr. Qaisar, not coupons.”
Humiliation at its pinnacle! Never came to my attention aaalll my life that the correct pronunciation is kew-pon, not co-pun. And here I slipped my tongue in all innocence in front of this old British gentleman.
“Oh, I get it. A.Actually I-”
“Mr. Qaisar! *grinning* Let me state you a fact which you do not realize while being in a jiffy. You are not the only gentleman who discovers the nervousness of listening about his fate from the interviewer. Did you notice all the gentlemen and gentlewomen who were sitting before you?”
“When they came out of the room, they behaved the same way as you. One of them actually couldn’t reach the interview room and left for the restroom. *laughing* So, you see! You are better than-”
“Thank you, Mr. Proctor, for the tenth consecutive motivational speech. It is very certain that you should take rest from escorting the candidates and drink a glass of water. Now, if you are done, will you please be kind and send Mr. Qaisar to my office?”
“And *smiling* this was the voice of your interviewer. I wish you the best of luck.”
Mr. Proctor leaves me at the door. Bare hands, sweat on my shirt and the running shoes. I have already chopped more than enough onions. I take a deep breath and knock at the door.
*ENTERING THE ROOM*
Tall man *speculating* in his forties of height near 6 feet sporting long hair brushed back and a stubble beard. He is watching polo through his binoculars outside the window with a folded arm.
“Because of *eyeballs down* considering me for the interview, Sir.”
“Have a seat.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
“Why are you hoarsing?”
“No, Sir. It is just the dryness of-”
“Take this glass of water.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
“This morning, I found your response to my offer in the junk mail. I don’t know how that mail moved to that category. But anyhow, I found your CV interesting and informed Mr. Proctor, the one who escorted you, to message you to visit us.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
“And now, you will address me, Mr. Rodriquez.”
“Ok, Mr. Rodriquez.”
*CHECKING CV ON HIS TAB*
“Your latest job ended three months ago. Why?”
“My direct manager didn’t honor the agreement. My working hours were fixed for 8 hours a day. But he made me work for 11 to… 10 to 11 hours several times which was not acceptable to me.”
“*scoffing* Not acceptable to you? *surprised* Why? Didn’t your boss pay you overtime for working extra hours?”
“He did. But this led towards work stress *he is listening carefully with eyebrows near his eyelashes* and I was not able to balance my mental capaticy, oh sorry, capacity between home and office.”
If I haven’t committed suicide a few hours ago, my English certainly will make me in a moment.
“For how long were you working there?”
“Three years, Mr. Rodriquez”
*LOOKING IN THE TAB*
“It says two years here.”
“Yes, I think two years. But overall… five years.”
“And you were appointed as?”
“BM. Brand Manager.”
“A Brand Manager. Hmm. Gooood. So what were your responsibilities as a BM?”
10 MINUTES LATER
“I notice you do not bring any folder or document with you which I find quite strange. Even a flash drive of your works supporting your lengthy details would have convinced me. So how can you help me understand your potential as a BM as the oral presentation is not enough, you know?”
“Mr. Rodriquez! Believe me, if I had time to prepare a.for for the interview then I would not have raised your doubts by coming empty.”
“I am not doubting your capability. But it is quite strange to understand that you were not ready for this. Candidates who seek jobs are always ready for the call. *head shaking like NO* I am sorry but-”
*EYES POP AND MOUTH OPEN IN SUDDEN SHOCK*
I am not able to maintain myself at all. My composure is compromised. He shook his head. It is over. I was an imbecile to arrive here with no preparation. I should have requested for a-
“Are you alright? Take another glass of water. Feel free.”
*DRINKS IN ONE BREATH*
“I assume you took my ‘sorry’ as rejection. I was about to say sorry if you mind because I find the response terrible. That is it. That is what I was going to say.”
Duffer you, Qaisar. Duffer you.
*MUSTERING THE COURAGE*
“Sorry to facially embarrass you, Mr. Rodriquez. Actually, this is the first call in three months for a.any job. So I was lost.”
“If you don’t mind, may I discover what have you been doing for the past three months?”
“I will try to sum up in a few lines. Basically, I have arrested myself at home because all my savings have been incurred on my brother’s education, *voice breaking* shopping, bills, rents, etc. I tried to mail about the job vacancies in this time period but failed to get any response. I lost all my money and had to seek help from my friends to pay the rent to the landlord.”
“And did you physically hunt? for the jobs? anywhere?”
“Only one brother with you at home?”
“Yes. My parents left the city due to the financial crisis a few years ago. At that time, I had a job and good money enough to help myself, my brother, and send a few to my parents. Now, they are not aware of my current situation because I don’t want to-”
“bother sharing, heart-breaking account, to the parents, who depend, upon you. Yes yes. Hm.”
“Yes, Mr. Rodriquez. But not that they require my financial assistance currently. They are in a much better situation then they were when they moved back. They are a large migrated family so they have each other’s back.”
“Mr. Rodriquez! You asked about these months and that is why I spoke in length. And I know that this has nothing to do with my work. But thank you for listening to me as a person.”
“Therefore, I sincerely request you to give me time to prepare myself for the next day.”
“You mean Monday.”
“Oh yes yes yes. Today is Friday. Kindly give me one more chance. I promise you will listen to no complaints when you conduct another interview.”
“Do you realize Mr. Qaisar that you are selling yourself pretty quickly? I understand your situation but you do not have to drop yourself that your professional appearance compromise at your current situation.”
“My apologies, Mr. Rodriquez. But my life heavily depends on this job. It took three months to finally get a response. I don’t know what would have happened if I had not received the message. Sir, you are the boss. We have different economic situations. *smiling* You will understand my situation only if you are in my place.”
“*scoffing* In your place? *smiling* In your place? Mr. Qaisar! Are you assuming that the man in front of you has enjoyed an ideal and perfect life? Without any suffering or hardship? Do you ween that employers or those employees in senior positions or those working at some collar jobs with high pay never face difficult situations?”
“I.I never meant that, Mr. Rodriquez? What I want to make you understand is that I am mentally disturbed in my life for some time and that is why I am not able to impress you in a job interview.”
He separates his folded hands, stretches his palms, brings close to his chest and tries to make a point.
“You are mentally disturbed in your life because this is how you feel in the given circumstances. And believe me from your most exhausting brain and heart that I have seen worse cases than yours. Every individual in his/her magnitude of depression and stress behaves and believes that he or she is at the lowest possible form of life crisis. They behave like any normal human caught in flu or body ache. I am not a doctor but a human with the emotional experience.”
“Mr. Qaisar, how old are you?”
“I am 28.”
“28 haan! *grinning* You feel you are facing the worst crisis at 28 haan!? Are your parents alive?”
“Yes. Both of them. Like I told yo-”
“Both of them? *raising eyebrows* Both of them? Now imagine a 15-year-old boy in the hostel been informed that his parents have died trying to save the house on fire.”
I am unmoved for a few seconds and not believing what he just said. I am honestly lost for words but trying.
“I.I.I am sooo sorry to know this, Mr. Rodriquez.”
He lifts from his chair. Inspects outside. No more polo. Fills his pockets with his hands and speaks to me.
“They were burnt in our home where I was born and raised with my toys, cards, cassettes, music player, childhood pictures, drawings, and countless memories. My sister was teaching in the kindergarten as the fire ate our house in daylight. She was six years elder than me and at 21, she agonizingly screamed that it affected her brain and also lost her voice.”
“No more candidates today Mr. Proctor. Inform them to call on Monday morning. Thank you.”
“While *pointing at himself* this prodigy returned from the hostel, myself and Suha, my sister, were taken by my childless uncle and aunt who later admitted me to a better school and Suha, who was not able to teach further after losing her voice, was married to an old businessman. Three years later, I lost my sister in her maternal death. So I was alone at 18. Mr. Qaisar! *grinning* Have you lost anyone in your family?”
“No, I haven’t. My parents are old but alive and my younger brother is with me.”
*TAKING HIS JACKET OFF*
“We humans are a subject of comfort and torture. Somewhere, we are responsible and somewhere, we are put to test. Young man! Realize that you are put to test and your case or crisis is not that bad as many others are suffering. Be thankful Mr. Qaisar! Be thankful! Look at you! Only three members of your family are depending on you. And *looking in the tab* you are not even married, are you?”
“No, I am not.”
He hits politely on the table and sits back on his chair.
“Are you engaged? Or committed to someone?”
“No Mr. Rodriquez, I am not.”
He shakes his head in bewilderment.
“So why are you so depressed? Look at me! *pointing at himself again* I am married with my lovely wife and four kids. 3 daughters and a son. The fifth is arriving soon in a couple of months.”
“Oh congratulations in advance to you, Mr. Rodriquez.”
“Thank you, young man! But try to understand my point here. You are a bachelor and your depression is nowhere close to a married man like me.”
“I understand, Sir”
“No, you don’t understand, young man! *lifts from his chair and stands nearby* When I was 24 and I married the woman I loved. She gave me twins. We were bubbly. One day, the company went bankrupt and it shut down within a week. After all the promises, the owners didn’t pay a penny to me or any worker. It was a recession period but somehow my family and I survived. Some helping hands and some labor force. With work, I was preparing for my graduation exams. But I gave up due to no money. And the family was my obvious priority. It took 18 months to get a new job, 18 months young man!
Today, I am worried about my young girls. Every father naturally is. Every time they see me, they insist to hand them some money and I cannot refuse. And this belief kills me, what if I meet the crisis again? So I have more things to worry about, Mr. Qaisar.”
“It is very understandable that you are a practical man who has encountered more difficult times than me. Maybe I have solutions but I am not thinking that deep to overcome the crisis. But I fear that one day, those who helped me in difficult times may question because it is their right.”
“See, my experience and moral teaches me that when you help someone, never ever expect for a favor in return. Never. And ever. If they are able to help you in return or repay you, it is up to you to accept the aid or money or just simply refuse in good spirits. Your friends at least helped you to pay the landlord recently. That is what you said before, right?”
“Yes, yes, they helped me.”
“Goood! At least you were helped by your friends.”
“What about you? Did you happen to-”
“Yes. *laughing* A few years ago. Before joining this company, I was broke and lost much of my earnings in a failed business venture. That resulted in fake promises to my landlord. For two consecutive months, I sought financial favors from my friends but no help came. It was not their fault because none of them were that financially stable as I was before my business failed.
And one day, the owner arrived at my door. He ordered me to empty the apartment within two hours. Imagine the agony. I was helpless as a husband and unprotected as a father. He was just standing there gazing my hopelessness and I was wandering and staring at the flats in my neighborhood. To my good luck, someone solaced our agitation. One neighbor offered the money to the landlord at the eleventh hour. And then we stayed there. After observing that neighbor, another showed up at our door and gave us some curry. *smiling*”
“Honestly, I am speechless to your accounts.”
“*laughs* Mr. Qaisar! *sits on his chair and both hands on the back of his head* This is life. Always love your family. Always, always love and shield your family. We are different people from different backgrounds for different purposes but one facet which should always remain common is humanity. Someone in the neighborhood was human. I cannot repay him for what he did. And again, if I would ever repay that kind of favor, I do not know if he would accept or refuse in good spirits.
Life has taught me to help people. This reduces the distance between them. Now, you were supposed to impress me by your professional capacity as a BM but thanks to you, Mr. Qaisar, that you forgot to bring your work material to start a different conversation. And this is a very important point that you *pointing finger* must always remember *pause* that things… happen… for a reason.”
“Because humans today have lost themselves in materialism, violence, self-destruction and greedy competition so they don’t realize. But you, Mr. Qaisar, after all that lengthy heart-to-heart conversation, I honestly believe that you deserve a chance.”
*DIAMOND IN MY EYES*
“R.Really, Mr. Rodriquez!?!? D.Do I?”
“Yes, young man! It will be too jarring and discourteous; and I will be evil to send you empty, hopeless and distorted after that *thinking* tête-à-tête. Today is Friday, so you can commence working from Monday. I will put you on trial and will scrutinize you if you really are capable to work as our company’s BM. If things work well and you surpass my expectation, I will make sure that you are paid with all the possible allowances and provide you vehicle and accommodation. *grinning*”
He takes his key, a journal, a handbag. That is it. Interview ends. I get the job. Yes, I get the job!
“Thank you so much, Sir. *shaking head* Thank you sooo much. Much obliged, Sir. *handshakes* I am… I am lost for words and I wish if my parents were with me, I would have invited you to meet them.”
“Otherwise, you won’t?”
“No no no. *grinning* I didn’t mean that. You are most welcome, Mr. Rodriquez.”
He is folding his suit jacket.
“You have no idea how much I am grateful to you despite the fact that I wa-”
“Attaboyyy!! I have your number. See you on Monday.”
Honestly, that ‘Gooood’ was in Palpatine’s voice. But he has surprised me. What a jolly fellow he is. Such a friendly gesture he has. And he also likes NBA! We actually are watching NBA together soon? With drinks? Am I dreaming? Who does this? I haven’t even started working. Is this for real? I hope this is not a prank. I hope he is normal.
“Leaving, Mr. Rodriquez”
“Yes, Mr. Proctor. Please look after the employment formalities of the newcomer.”
“Will do, Mr. Rodriquez.”
“*looking at me* And you! Do not fail me, young man! And never ever give up! See you on Monday. And we’ll plan about watching NBA. Mr. Proctor will also join.”
“Me? *laughs* Oh, I’m afraid I-”
“Come onnnn! It will be fun. This guy has 8K UHD! Even I don’t have at my home. Oh, by the way, Mr. Qaisar! He is Celtics. *sarcastically laughing*”
I am confused. Why is he laughing? And should I laugh with him or not. He prepares to leave.
“I must leave now. It was delectation to have you and speaking in length. Come prepared, Mr. Qaisar. Do wash your shirt and wear a better pair of shoes here.”
He kneww itt! And he still recruited me!
“Welcome aboard, Mr. Qaisar.”
“Mr. Proctor! I must admit that Mr. Rodriquez is a very generous and humble man. He is completely the opposite of my former boss. If we have people with such qualities holding the chairs in most of the companies, we employees can never feel distressed.”
“I wish if the global powers would have been that kind and perfect, there would have been no economic crisis.”
“Is he always like this with all the candidates?”
“Most of the times. Yes. He is fond of making people optimistic. But today, he invested more time on this young chap.”
“You are right. I can relate to your point somehow.”
“And I hope *smiling* that you won’t lose your… job.”
“I am confident that I am staying here for long.”
“It’s 4 and I suggest we should do these formalities on Monday.”
“Mr. Proctor! I am yet to ask about your position in the company.”
“I am the secretary to the company’s GM and also have my say as a consultant. Enjoy the weekend.”
I come out of the building. Then I gaze back at the building to the top. Heavy clouds pouring drops on my head in laziness.
It wasn’t pouring for some time. The weather forecast was sunny this morning. I went to the building empty-handed but I feel that my hands are carrying some weight now. The weight of my fate.
♪ I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin’
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world ♪
♪ Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’ ♪
A few hours ago, I was about to take my life. I was lost and hopeless. I had an accident this morning. My phone was not mute. I had no money to reach here. I left my documents at home. My e-mail was on the junk. The interview was semi-personal. And this man under his authority gave the chance I was craving for some months. Maybe he was in high spirits before I stepped in to meet him and he may have thought to make the life of any of the candidates. But the point is *thinking* that things happen for a reason. Things… happen… for a reason.
I am looking around, trying to notice why the vehicles stop at red and run at the green from my wet eyes. I think I understand something. I am clapping and joyously chuckling while still looking around. I am smiling as if I have fallen in love again. I look around the busyness of the city.
Two kids of around 8 licking ice creams at a stall. A woman reading a book on the bench with her poodle sitting near her. The workers lifting bricks and some working on a billboard. I am loving everything whatever I see.
But there are things which provoke me to observe the harsh realities on the same streets. A mime entertains a small crowd nearby and after the act, no one drops a penny to his name. A beggar bundled in torn clothes whines for food and a group of witnesses strangely guffaws over his misery imagining if this is a slapstick. A street singer goes unheard lamenting about the man of words who committed suicide after his poetry fell on deaf ears.
♪ Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley ♪
I help an old woman with a walking stick cross the street on the red signal. She thanks me and leaves. I wave my hand on her back which goes unnoticed. Then a beggar from my back appears to me asking for money. I realize on his face that my wallet is empty of notes. I stare at him.
♪ And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall ♪
“Nizam! Don’t forget to collect your key. I am leaving now.”
“Good luck, brother.”
I have my parents’ blessing. I spoke with them on the weekend and informed about the new job. I pretended that I left the previous job for this and skipped reporting all the jeopardies. Why should I tell them? Why should I?
[“Beta! I am so happy and proud of you. Always work hard and earn good money.”
“Oh yes. Something I forgot to tell you. Mrs. Khurshid came last night at our place. You know her daughter, Saba? She has returned from Amsterdam completing her studies. Maa Shaa Allaah, Saba is such a beautiful-”
My car is still in the workshop because the workers later that day left for strike due to non-payment. The neighbor lends me more money as I informed him about my new job. That day, I called the landlord and my friends to inform about the job. Now I am at peace.
I have my Montblanc business bag and derby shoes of Hugo. And there are no marks of sweat as my attire is laundered. So I am missing no chance to give a better impression this time.
And I am enjoying cool breeze hanging in the bus. Above my head, the sun is hiding behind the clouds… just like my recent past. *smiling* And behind my head, I notice a teenage girl making a video of a sleepy passenger with saliva dropping from his mouth and snoring loudly. The scene catches the attention and his nasal thunders chuckle the other passengers, so does I. I recognize the delight on many faces and suddenly my eyes catch sight of a striking girl in a red and white sleeveless fit and flare casual dress of an unknown brand who notices me after chuckling at the sleepy passenger exactly the same time as I to her. She reminds me of Lauren German.
♪ Black Sabbath – Orchid ♪
As soon as we look at each other, my eardrums hark Black Sabbath’s Orchid. We are not chuckling anymore. We don’t care whose snoring has been funny all these seconds. We are glaring at each other. Her sparkling hazel eyes are inviting. She looks at me as if she is daunted with the unwanted coincidence of the chuckling faces fixing the eyes over each other. Maybe she is augmenting her careless mettle where emotions foolishly wander. Maybe she is making a statement. All my conundrums have vanished.
Oh, wait. Some lady holds her arm from the back. She looks back and they are smiling at each other. And she leaves with her at her stop and doesn’t glance back at me. Maybe she is with her. Maybe she is her sister or a friend. Maybe I am thinking too much. Maybe this is becoming my tendency. I remembered Sakina for a moment when she and I fixed our eyes at each other. Our misfiring chemistry led to abysmal farewell.
Now I realize how stupid I was thinking about killing myself. The opportunity knocked and I got a new job hours later. And that is why we should never lose hope. Because someone above the clouds is very kind to you. He is testing my patience. He is observing me.
I have reached on time and I am a few minutes away from 9. It is the new beginning and I hope that I will fit in the working environment with my new….
*STOPPING AND STARING AHEAD*
Why are the cops patrolling down? What is happening in this building?
I walk a few steps ahead. People on the streets are gathering to observe the situation. I ask a few who are standing near the cops. They have no idea. I have no idea. I am getting late on my first day but I am not allowed to enter the building for some time. I must call Mr. Proc-
*EYES WIDE OPEN*
A team of police escorting a handcuffed Mr. Rodriquez out of the building!
Mr. Rodriquez is handcuffed! The cops are here for him?
Mr. Rodriquez is arrested? What is going on?
♪ Life ain’t always beautiful
Sometimes it’s just plain hard
Life can knock you down
It can break your heart. ♪
My eyes are not believing the scene I am witnessing. I try to reach to one of the patrolling cars nearby.
“Why is he handcuffed?”
What did he do?
He is three steps away.
“M.M.Mr. Rodriquez! What happened??”
He is smiling. Shaking his head. He looks like he was crying before reaching here. He doesn’t look like if he has slept the last night. The cops are making him sit in one of the vehicles.
“Things happen for a reason, Qaisar. Always remember! Things happen for a reason.”
The door of the vehicle shuts!
“Do not fail me, young man! And never ever give up!”
♪ Life ain’t always beautiful
You think you’re on your way
And it’s just a dead end road
At the end of the day. ♪
I stand there as the cops leave the site. Mr. Rodriquez keeps looking at me until he disappears from the scene. I am believing as if he further wanted to say something to me. I am feeling if he is downtrodden by the authorities for being humble and kind to the helpless people like me. The spectators around become pedestrians. The time has passed 9. I am allowed to enter the building. Should I? I can barely move my feet from where I am standing.
♪ But the struggles make you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has its own way
Of taking its own sweet time. ♪
A silence spells for a few seconds then I see Mr. Proctor reaching towards me.
I am dumbstruck but I have to begin from somewhere.
“What in the world just happened now? I cannot believe what my eyes just witnessed. What did he do?”
“Please come to the office and we will speak on this matter.”
Entering the building and the gate from where he was escorted out handcuffed is not helping me make up my mind because I want to know.”
“Please Mr. Proctor! Tell me. What did he do?”
“I hope you realize that this is not the place to sp-“
“What did he d-“
*RAISING HIS VOICE*
“HE HAS MURDERED HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN!!”
[“Always love your family. Always, always love and shield your family.”]
♪ No, life ain’t always beautiful
Tears will fall sometimes
Life ain’t always beautiful
But it’s a beautiful ride. ♪
400,000 Men Couldn’t Get Home, So Home Came For Them
The message from hell descending from the clouds. The sea waves escorting back the dead bodies. The civilian boats rescuing the freezing fate-less soldiers. Casualties outnumbering the survivors. Hark! the bombers are approaching and releasing your death certificates. Realize! the fuel is getting low! So decide either you drop your plane to the sea or shoot your rival pilot.
There is panic everywhere, there is sonic everywhere. There is no amount of food, there is no hope for good. More than 300 thousand soldiers are trapped on the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk in an uncanny weather. France has fallen to the Germans and their troops are to reach the site anytime. But the Commander is hoping that they all will be back – Home.
Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan‘s latest project, a war film whose storyline and characters are fictional in nature but relies on the rich historical accuracy based on the historic evacuation of the Allied forces during World War II. Nolan has touched the new dimensions of the filmmaking of war films. For ages, the filmmakers have strived in convincing the audience by making ‘lengthy’ war films but Nolan’s warfare drama runs for only 106 minutes and proves that it is just a matter of speaking the story in the most formidable manner. Nolan proves that to make a successful war film, a coherent presentation plays a major part, not the length of the script.
“I’d rather fight waves than dive-bombers.”
The story is divided into three divergent segments of land, water, and air. There is a stupendous balance in all the three segments with the land story definitely being more of a blood boiler. Thousands of the soldiers standing, sitting, lying in the queue on the sands of the beach await their fate and hope for deliverance. When I say lying on the beach, few are the dead bodies.
War films are acutely loud and noisy. But here there is no massive bullet-firing in the whole film, no earth-shattering blasts or powerful destructions. The grip of the plot is kept at loose ends. Dunkirk’s script is build on intensity. More than killing, the film is about saving the lives and rendering a valuable service for the people stuck in the battle.
Yes, the nature of this war-subject is saving more than killing but like I wrote above that it is the intensity, the incredible screenplay of bringing things into either an argument or a question mark. The sequences and consequences of numerous scenes drop the emotions displaying the significance and tragic life conclusions like a boatman losing his son, a soldier dropping his helmet and walking towards the sea waves, a pilot watching his plane burnt etc.
“He’s shell-shocked, George. He’s not himself. He might never be himself again.”
Angel of death knocks the door everywhere and it is not a matter of bombs but other critical things like an oiled human body trying to wash himself in haste before it catches the fire on the water or a young soldier making an unsuccessful attempt to catch the ladder of the boat before fainting into the water.
Another impressive factor of the film is the target age-group of the troops portrayal. Mostly in the film are extremely young men. The impact is hard but I like the way the young skins are put to test in the biggest scare of their lives. There were two such scenes shot on the boys giving a fascinating look on the labor and patience during the war times. One was when the two young soldiers witness a helpless gashed soldier on the stretcher. Both heed each other’s possible signal and prepare to lift the heavy stretcher miles towards the boat running and staring the other dead bodies on the beach. The other scene is when the German troops shot at the trawler for target practice where the young soldiers are hiding and no one has the courage of volunteering to release from the boat.
The film is blessed with an ensemble cast whose characters are equally divided in all the three segments. The beauty of the screenplay is that there is no main character. All the characters support each other in their segment i.e., the character of the boatman, Mr Dawson, played by Mark Rylance is indeed the lead character on the sea but his sons, Peter and George, have decent onscreen appearance subjected towards the gallantry. Rylance piloted his character boat every day and listened to the audio recordings at the Imperial War Museum.Cillian Murphy plays the rescued soldier who suffers the psychological impact of the war. Being short in the role, his mental acting performance was exceptional. To improve his character, Murphy read about the psychological trauma the soldier endured.
“Men my age dictate this war. Why should we be allowed to send our children to fight it?”
Tom Hardy is the RAF pilot playing the major role flying in the clouds but his fellow RAF pilot, Collins played by Jack Lowden, is not to be considered underrated. On land, Kenneth Branagh is the commander, loosely based on Admiral William Tennant, but also attached to him is James D’Arcy as Colonel Winnant. But the weight of the characters is equal keeping in mind that the former’s character is verbal as compared to the latter’s character being physical.
Among the young soldiers, the character of Tommy played by Fionn Whitehead was impressive than Alex played by Harry Styles. In fact, Fionn’s performance was indeed the most impressive one who surely had the most minutes throughout the film. Fionn’s character Tommy was named after the slang term ‘Tommy‘ which was commonly used for the ordinary British soldiers. When Nolan auditioned Harry Styles, he was not acquainted with his immense popularity.
Audience pointed Hardy’s contribution to the film as best but he was just a pilot flying the plane in the whole film. It was actually not Hardy’s performance but the character to be counted as the most valuable one.
“How hard is it to find a dead Englishman on Dunkirk beach, for God’s sake?”
Musical department? Hans Zimmer to Nolan is what John Williams to Spielberg. Easily the most powerful director-musician combo after the latter. And here Zimmer has gifted the audience with just another masterpiece in music. The sound of the watch ticking (often played at the start of the trailer) was actually Nolan’s own pocket watch synthesized by Zimmer. Also to his credit is including Edward Elgar‘s most famous variation ‘Nimrod’ from his Enigma Variations in the film’s dramatic theme. Sound mixing is excellent. The roar of a falling enemy aircraft from the sky will haunt you.
Dunkirk is supreme at almost every technical department. Nolan’s screenplay is superbly balanced with Lee Smith‘s editing. The timing of the segments’ stories kept changing ahead and behind to show from other character’s point of view and it is indeed the beauty of editing which makes Dunkirk attract the audience understand the depth of the story from different angles. Hoyte van Hoytema‘s cinematography is sublime. I loved the aerial plane attacking shots.
Christopher Nolan keeps experimenting a new genre and develops his directional methods and ways of telling the stories. His direction is frank, polar and strict to the subject. In first half an hour, the presentation of the film is concentrating on the happenings at the beach, in the air, and at the sea with very remote dialogues. With the help of a phenomenal film editing, Nolan has crafted his Nolanistic method of depicting the heightened realism and giving the viewers a chance to see his artistry like resurrecting for a reason.
Dunkirk is so superior film that in a premiere the Dunkirk veterans wept and expressed if they time traveled back in Dunkirk. The veterans approved the realism and precise presentation of the war. Many critics have declared Dunkirk to be Nolan’s best work to date. It truly is a difficult question with more arguments than announcing the conclusion. Between his Inception,The Dark Knight, Interstellar, and Dunkirk, it seems impossible to pick the best and ignore the rest.
In my opinion, Dunkirk is the greatest war film ever made and will be remembered for ages. The greatest in a sense that the subject has been addressed and crafted in the most excellent form and has to be included in an elite list of the greatest war films like Apocalypse Now and Saving Private Ryan.
“We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. and even if this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”
Now who was Rudolf Abel? Shortly speaking, Abel was born in UK to Russian émigré parents, which means born to the couples living in political exile. He served Soviet military and fought against Nazis in WWII. After the war, he lived as spy in US where years later he was caught by FBI. The director began his part in the movie from here and I think that was a good decision.
The movie has two phases blended splendidly. One is Donovan/Abel phase and the other is Powers/Pryor phase. The other phase is story of two Americans. Francis Gary Powers was American pilot whose CIA spy plane was shot down by the Soviets in 1960 and Frederic Pryor, a graduate student, was caught by East German police without any charge a year later, who was studying there since 1959.
Spielberg offers sharp visual historic presentation of the famous exchange occurred in Glienicke Bridge. The famous exchange scene has been shot at very same historic site. The dare and gallantry of James B.Donovan is well explained, his wit saved Abel’s hugely expected hanging sentence into a 30-year imprisonment which turned into nationwide massive shock.
When it comes to tell history, the most important aspect to the viewers and readers is ‘deep intensity’. Spielberg successfully sketches deep realistic intensity hitting your head hard, specially at two different scenes. One is the court scene when the judge declares Abel’s punishment to 30 years instead of hanging, next 5 minutes are the peak of boiling points. The other scene is Donovan witnessing Berlin Wall shooting, facial expressions of Tom Hanks who plays Donovan here are priceless.
Bridge of Spies is committed with 90% historical accuracy with slight alterations i.e., all critical points under the incidents happened and presented in the movie are true. Spielberg’s frequent collaborator John Williams did join to compose movie’s score but left for Thomas Newman due to health issues but Newman justified his musical presence and didn’t make us miss John’s score. Production and costume designs were super-excellent, one simply cannot expect an error in these two departments as Speilberg has been veteran of many many historic movies.
Pace is slow but adaptable. Mark Rylance as Rudolf Abel is a showstopper who deservingly won Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for this role. Overall, Bridge of Spies is a decent history digging movie from a very important time-zone of the 20th century.