Blog Directory CineVerse: "The innocent will be punished with the guilty..."

"The innocent will be punished with the guilty..."

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Long before "A Few Good Men" suggested a few inconvenient truths, including truths we "can't handle" (like the fact that the dirty work that some men do in the military isn't so easy to swallow yet keeps our country safe), "The Caine Mutiny" was making this finer point via the morally complex conundrum involving Captain Queeg. Backed by an admirable roster of actors and a Pulitzer Prize-winning story penned by Herman Wouk, this picture works on many levels. In the court of public opinion, CineVerse gives you exhibit A, B, C, etc.:

WHAT MAKES THIS FILM STAND OUT? WHAT’S MEMORABLE ABOUT IT?

  • It’s more of a morality tale and a psychological drama than a war combat or war action picture. 
    • Bluray.com reviewer Martin Liebman wrote: that the movie places “absolute reliance on story over raw action and kinetic activity. The picture plays with a understated fa├žade and a pace that's "slower" than even that employed by more modern films with a similar premise…There's no need for flash in The Caine Mutiny…audience members will find themselves too engrossed in the plot and the characters to realize that the movie lacks that visceral pizzaz so often employed to distract from, rather than add to, a plot. The story's primary dynamics deal more in mental and emotional exercises, anyway; this is the story of people who must face a drastic change in routine in a time already defined by great stress, and have those pressures exponentially increased when it becomes apparent that the man under whose command they fall may not himself be up to performing his duties with the capability and capacity the situation demands.”
  • It functions as many types of movie in one: a war movie, a courtroom drama, a psychological thriller, and a period piece.
  • The filmmakers do a good job of immersing us aboard the Caine and making us feel like we’re part of the crew.
  • The cast is deep and rich with character actors and notable names.
MANY CHARACTERS PLAY ARCHETYPAL ROLES. CAN YOU CITE EXAMPLES?
  • Queeg plays the authority figure: a seemingly indomitable force whom all the other characters revolve around. He also serves as the villain, yet a morally complex one.
  • Maryk stands as the reluctant hero, someone in whom we place our trust but who faces a true moral conflict and who has reservations about taking over command.
  • Keefer represents a catalyst—a force that changes the story and sets events in motion; he’s also a betrayer, the de facto cynic and somewhat of a comic relief; he thwarts Queeg, but he’s also upsetting Naval trust and tradition.
  • Keith is a surrogate for the audience, representing our eyes and ears among the crew and a witness to what happens. He functions as a Starbuck of-sorts for this story.
  • Greenwald serves as the story’s conscience. DVD Talk reviewer Jamie S. Rich wrote: “He's the one who recognizes all of the pieces on the chess board and calls them out for the complicity they had in what occurred onboard the Caine. Without him, the case of Queeg vs. crew would appear to be cut-and-dried. After the trial is over, however, he drunkenly brings the hammer down on the self-satisfied victors, raising questions about loyalty, courage, and the true meaning of duty.”
NOTABLE THEMES IMBUED IN THE CAINE MUTINY:
  • The need to do the right thing under duress, which can be incredibly challenging and produce harsh consequences.
  • Exploring the nature of courage and conviction.
  • The meaning of discipline as a code of conduct; one officer has to have the discipline to overrule his captain and take command when he feels like lives are at stake.
  • You can’t handle the truth. Rich wrote: “Greenwald makes a compelling argument about the necessity of men like Queeg, what they are asked to do, and what he and the other men involved were occupied with while Queeg was doing it.”
  • Yin and yang, as symbolized by the two metal balls Queeg handles. According to Wikipedia, “In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describes how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.” It’s a concept that suggests dual natures, which Queeg has. 
OTHER MOVIES THAT THE CAINE MUTINY MAKES YOU THINK OF:
  • Mutiny on the Bounty
  • Mr. Roberts
  • Run Silent, Run Deep
  • A Few Good Men
  • Tunes of Glory
  • Crimson Tide
OTHER FILMS BY EDWARD DMYTRYK:
  • Crossfire
  • Murder My Sweet
  • The Young Lions
  • Raintree County
  • Warlock

  © Blogger template Cumulus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP