Sunday, January 14, 2007


A brilliantly scripted, politically conscious film. The ardh satya of compromising one's ethics (and, in the process, siding with those very elements that the man had sought to destroy) and being able to do some good is to the fore in a striking, blatant manner - and how often it is that the need to compromise (and the wish) grows as one's power grows, as one's sphere of influence grows, as one becomes increasingly a public figure. The life of mask begins! You exhort fans and innocent supporters to shout "Fist, Fist, Fist," and yet the guilt, the void, the blackness of your best friend dead, to which you remained a mute spectator, is all the time inside you. You always wished the good of workers, and yet you know that if the same people for whom you are here come to know about some of the methods and practices you resorted to for doing their good, would boo you, would disown you, would hurl stones you, and verily you would become an untouchable.

Sylvester Stallone handles the role with aplomb, complete with his immigrant accent, decisive movements of the body, and tough still honest looking face. He amazes you even more with the later part of the film - when he is shown to have grown middle-aged. It is then that the film really acquires a relevance unthought of at first, when the viewer is just getting along with young Stallone's struggle to build up a union. But now, when the union is in good shape, the hunger for more power surfaces in Stallone - and that's when the film really gets interesting. He finally gets the girl whom he always loved, but on the same day his friend leaves him for his uncompromisable ethics - and, probably from that day on, the last really good influence in an active form also went away from Stallone's life. Now, he was an easy prey to his own ambition, greed for power, and tactics of his new-found associates. Ironically, while Stallone always used them as pawns to build his and the union's power, it emerges at the end that it is he actually who always was the pawn - primarily because he cannot ever be like them, try as much he may - he will always have that bit of the young man who never cared for his life fighting for a nonexistent union.

The film is scripted really well, and the screenplay (Stallone again) and direction are at a real good and suitable tempo. The strike scenes in the initial part of the film, the work conditions, the odd-man outism of Stallone everywhere (and yet his mastery in rousing the rabble) - all take the film to a logical whole. Sexual harassment - such a small scene, when the overseer insuinates that Stallone's girlfriend is short of day's requirements; the never-say-die spirit of the real politician - Stallone, even when leaving the courtroom at the climax of the film in a huff and with grief gnawing within him over the news of his only friend and mate's death (and the revelations that his friend had made from his past life to the prosecutor), rousing the rabble with cries of "Fist, Fist, Fist"; the senator - Rod Steiger as the wily, shrewd, masked democrat; the leaden sky color of most part of the film (especially, the initial part). An excellent story and film, and a must for a Sylvester Stallone fan.

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