Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Inherit the Wind
Today I watched Inherit the Wind, directed in 1960 by Stanley Kramer. It's a great movie, focusing on the courtroom procedures during the famous Scopes "Monkey Trial". In it, it was attempted to be decided if it was alright for evolution to be taught in schools or not. It's sort of disturbing to me how current this movie feels, and how relevant it is. The actual trial was in 1925, but we are still having similar debates today. I don't find it unnerving because I'm personally not religious - I find it unnerving that we're still not secure in our separation of church and state. Religion already has a venue to share it's beliefs and thoughts, and so should science.
So I pretty much just summarized the film right there already. I just really liked this movie. I really loved that the director wasn't afraid to give so much time to the courtroom scenes, which many people might consider to be boring. He let characters have really long, powerful speeches, and it was fantastic. Sometimes long stretches of dialogue are frowned upon in films, but it worked really well here because the topic at hand was so interesting. I thought the speeches against religion were pretty liberal - Ebert even mentioned he wasn't sure if the movie was made to day that it would be able to question fundamentalism so bluntly. I don't mean this because I don't like religion - just because it's interesting to notice that it's such a weirdly modern movie, I guess.
The acting was outstanding. The character names are hard to keep track of because in every review they are referred to by their real names and the names they had in the movies, and also sometimes the actors names as well, so pardon me if I'm light on the details. I just loved that the actors were so skilled with these huge speeches, with yelling in each others faces and really just out and out debating for the whole duration of the film. It's not easy to fake debate, I would imagine, and it was absolutely convincing here. The intensity that they all had was incredible, and I just loved watching all of them.
I think this is a great movie to watch now, because it's so current and so relevant. Sure, it's in black and white, but that doesn't make it old and outdated. It wasn't too many years ago when there were arguments about teaching intelligent design alongside evolution in schools. I don't know what it means that over 80 years have passed since the Scopes trial started and the intelligent design debate began (in 2005), but it seems important to think about. I don't want to get into my personal politics or thoughts on it here, but I just wanted to point out how little has changed, I guess, about our world, in some ways. Let me know if you check this movie out!
Sorry for the shorter post, I feel like I covered all my thoughts and I know I'll need to be well-rested for work tomorrow. :)
Have any thoughts on Inherit the Wind? Share them in the comments!
Ebert's Great Movie Essay on Inherit the Wind
Buy it on Amazon