Date First Watched: Long time ago
Date Last Watched: 2/05/2012
# Viewings: 8+
I have a looooooong history with this film. It was my favourite movie when I was about 10/11. It is probably the movie I’ve seen the most number of times and I’ve defended it endlessly against its army of haters. And I’ll continue to because I still think it’s awesome.
People have always called it manipulative and sentimental, and though I can see why they could think that, I never get that artificial feel from it. Yes, it’s flashy and very Hollywood, but it’s also very genuine. Some of it is a bit sappy, but it never feels overwhelming to me. I think this is largely in part due to the fantastic acting and the visuals – the mise-en-scene, the cinematography, the lighting; it’s a beautiful looking film.
To go back to the acting side of things – I still maintain that Doug Hutchison’s performance in this film is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Percy is one of my favourite villains in any film; he’s one of the most well-developed characters I’ve ever seen, which make him work so well as a villain. Some people have said ‘why is Percy the bad guy of the film – all he does is tease the prisoners, and you have child molesters, rapists and murderers in the cells’ – well it’s a number of reasons, but mostly because he’s portrayed as human, and the other ‘bad guys’ are not. We accept that the other guys are monsters who are going to pay for their crimes, but Percy is ‘evil’ in other ways. I don’t think I’ve ever genuinely hated a villain as much as I hate Percy (though I still love him for being an awesome character). Tom Hanks is affable as always, and the rest of the main cast are just as likable.
When I was 10 or whatever, I had a crush on Dean (Barry Pepper) for a while, and then Percy for a bit. I still kind of have the hots for Percy (which may seem to contradict my previous paragraph but life is full contradictions, deal with it), so every time I watch it I’m concerned that there may be left over bias, but I’m pretty sure there isn’t any.