22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Trying To Out-distance Fate.
, December 20, 2001
This review is from: Racing With the Moon [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Although the superficial theme of this film is young love, the heart of the film is in the subtle ways that Henry (Sean Penn) tries to come to terms with the harsh realities of his impending military service. Henry knows that, in less than a year, he will probably be on some remote Pacific island, fighting one insane Japanese soldier after another to the death. While he has no idea of the horrors to come, he definitely feels a sense of impending doom.
The movie's most telling scene is after Callie (Elizabeth McGovern) is angred by Henry & Nicky (Nicolas Cage) when they make fun of their school's emergency preparedness drill. Callie takes Henry to a veteran's hospital, where she delivers library books to soldiers recovering from amputations (and likely worse). Henry is visibly scared at the sight of these guys, not much older than he is, who will now go through life with a new, horrific perspective.
After the visit, Henry becomes angry with Callie. He shows her - and the audience - that bravado DOES have a place in dealing with impending terror, and that there are many ways to look at the complexities of war. At the end of the film, when both boys jump on the train that may take them to their deaths, the resilience of the human spirit goes with them, and they impart some of their courage to those left standing at the station. A classic film, with a timely message.
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