Day Seven : The Rock

My 35 Day Life #ReThink explained through Hollywood Blockbusters.

I’m always conflicted when I watch the movie The Rock. The head bad guy who is holding the hostages for ransom happens to be a decorated war hero, trying to solicit compensation and honors for the forgotten soldiers that died under his command. A noble end, attempted by some very terrible means. (*spoiler alert*) Just before be dies, he says “what have I done”, in reference to the mercenaries he has hired to help him on this ‘mission’ who unlike him, are just in it for themselves. 

So why the realization after the damage has already been done? Why the change of heart? 


At the start of the movie the (soon to be bad guy) general is talking at to what appears to be his wife’s tombstone. He talks about how he tried to get his superiors to do right by his former black-ops soldiers, but now he needed to do something he couldn’t do “when she was around”.  She was his moral compass, and without her he could do what needed to be done without that accountability. He could steal some nerve gas and hold hostages for ransom to get money for the families he feels were aggrieved. 

I think we all have those in our circles that are our mirrors we must face when we take less than honorable actions. Partners, families, friends, co-workers, society - they are the checks and balances to our own internal moral compass. When we get really hung up on some perceived injustice and feel the need to fight back, it’s easier to go covert, cover up our mirrors, than it is to try to justify what we know will eventually make us say “what have I done”.

Once we go there, how do we get back to embracing our accountability network, particularly when the deficiencies we are fighting to correct are still running strong…

Tomorrow : Shawshank Redemption 

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  • Joseph Murphy