Wednesday, May 5, 2010

To End All Wars – Book and Movie, Part II

To End All Wars is rated “R” for violence and language. I seldom view a R-rated movie because I don’t want the mind pollution – this is not about others who watch R-rated movies, this is about me (and Vickie). I don’t want the language, violence, or sexual content pollution – to name the three big pollutants.

I did not find any language or violence in To End All Wars that I thought gratuitous; as mentioned in yesterday’s post the historical violence was downplayed. I imagine the language was also downplayed, when coarse language was used I never felt it was being used to draw attention to itself but rather that it was relevant to the scene.

My friend David said in effect, “This is the movie The Passion set in WWII.” I thought that a good comparison. One difference between the two movies is that To End All Wars releases its tension throughout the movie whereas, as I recall, while The Passion has flashbacks that the tension and violence are pretty much unrelenting. Of course when the tension is released in To End All Wars you find yourself wondering when the next challenge or tragedy will occur, but there is such a wonderful element of hope that I found myself experiencing joy at certain junctures in the movie – which was not my experience throughout The Passion

This is not a movie to be watched for entertainment; it is a movie to be explored and discussed. It is not a war movie; it is a movie set in the cruelty of war and within a clash of cultures. The latter element is applicable in our own day when we hear much about culture wars, both within and without our nation. Ernest Gordon and his companions not only learned the mercy of Christ, they learned to understand, to some degree, the warrior culture of the Japanese which in turn helped them communicate with their captors.

The sacrificial love of Christ portrayed in this movie is something we would do well to remember when engaging in political discourse, in our treatment of our neighbors and coworkers, in all of our heart attitudes towards others. It is something that can inform our approach to cultures different from our Western culture and within our Western culture.

To End All Wars is ultimately about Christ forgiving and loving us and us forgiving and loving others through Christ, which leads to the end of all wars - both within ourselves and towards others. Isn’t this what we would expect from the Prince of Peace?

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