Dir: Richard Lester
Str: Richard Harris, Omar Sharif, David Hemmings, Anthony Hopkins
What an intense movie!
I have a memory for this movie. Because this movie is the first movie I have
ever seen in a movie theater. But, anyway, even without the memory, I can say the movie is quite a memorable one.
I would not be exaggerating if I said the ambiance of the movie was so intense that I could not even take a breath
at that time. I must admit that, as I was only 14 years old when I saw the movie first time, I was susceptible
to the influence of the movies that had certain power. But considering the fact that I am even now watching the
movie at least once a month, the movie must have considerable impact upon viewers. Especially the contrast between
the vast Atlantic ocean and the limited space where the bomb diffusing process by Richard Harris's team takes place
is quite enormous and vividly depicted. you would be able to easily feel Richard Harris's anxiety-laden awareness
of his own mortality by his sporadically discharged gush of jokes. And his anxiety and anger is all the more amplified
when one of his best men (played by David Hemmings) is killed by careless handling of an explosive. I assume Richard
Harris is overacting in any movie. But, as far as this movie is concerned, his overacting becomes an advantage,
for his overacting could be interpreted as the involuntarily surfaced anxiety.
It's very good they didn't employ too much noisy music.
I assume this movie's minimum use of music also greatly enhances the atmosphere.
In 1970s, there appeared several movies that employed minimal music or none at all except title back, such as Dog
Day Afternoon, The China Syndrome, and Network (These movies are also my favorite movies.). Though
it can be said virtual non-existance of music is a ploy countering the traditional way of using music for dramatical
effect and thus certain amount of counter effect could be obtained by not using it, documetary-like-effect certainly
accrues to the movie from it.
Juggernaut could be exemplary for other suspense movies.
Those days, many panic movies appeared. Though probably we could not say Juggernaut
was a panic movie in a strict meaning, I think the intensity this movie possesses would be required of those panic
movies except a few cases. Intensity is not attainable by blatant violence or helpless people panicking around
all over the place, but can be gaind by stillness beneath which uncontrollable chaos is roaming. In short, Juggernaut
has this precious power and, as such, has succeeded in becomiming one of the best suspense movies of 1970s.
But, I can't understand Richard Harris' behavior in the last scene.
Finally, I cannot help but mention one question about the movie's last scene,
which I have never been able to solve. At the last scene, Richard Harris is forced into the situation he must decide
whether he should cut a red wire or a blue one. The culprit of this incident (he has been arrested by the effort
of an Scotlandyard inspector(played by rather younger Anthony Hopkins) by this scene) suggests he should cut the
blue wire. But, at the very last moment, he decides to cut the red wire without any announcement of his doing so
in advance. This means that, if the red wire had been wrong one, no one could have correctly guessed the red one
should not have been cut. So tragedy would have ensued. One explanation might be that he is suppose to be so stupid
that he could not even notice the possibility. But this is not true, for he obiously stated several minutes before
his cutting red wire that, if he cut the wrong wire, his men would be able to correct his mistake as to the rest
of explosives. So another explanation. The director and the writer of the movie was stupid enough not to notice
the possibility. But this explanation also can be dropped by the same reason. Therefore only possible remaining
reason for it is that they could not let Richard Harris say he was going to cut the red wire. Because if he had
uttered such a declaration, overall atmosphere would have been ruined. In short, they saved the dramatic effect
at the expense of verisimilitude. I don't know this is true or not. If someone know the answer, please teach me.
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