Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"I never saved anything for the swim back"

THERE ARE SEVERAL MOVIES that I have thought about through the years. Some just because they are fun and some because they have something to offer besides just a popcorn stomach ache. One is "Jacob's Ladder". If you have not seen it, it's worth the watch. Another one is "Gattaca". Not a big hit, the basic idea is that in the future society analyzes your DNA and determines where you belong in life.
Ethan Hawke's character was born with a congenital heart condition which would cast him out of getting a chance to travel in space. He (Vincent) is also one of the last "natural" babies born into a sterile, genetically-enhanced world, where life expectancy and disease likelihood are ascertained at birth. Myopic and due to die at 30, he has no chance of a career in a society that now discriminates against your genes, instead of your gender, race or religion. So in turn he assumes the identity of an athlete who has genes that would allow him to achieve his dream of space travel. He achieves prominence in the Gattaca Corporation, where he is selected for his lifelong desire: a manned mission to Titan. Constantly passing gene tests by diligently using samples of Jerome's hair, skin, blood and urine, his now-perfect world is thrown into increasing desperation, his dream within reach, when the mission director is killed - and he carelessly loses an eyelash at the scene! Certain that they know the murderer's ID, but unable to track down the former Vincent, the police start to close in, with extra searches, and new gene tests. With the once-in-a-lifetime launch only days away, Vincent must avoid arousing suspicion, while passing the tests, evading the police, and not knowing whom he can trust.

There is one scene that I will never forget and stays with me.

Anton: Gene altered
Vincent: Natural Born (main character in film, Ethan Hawk)

"Our favorite game was chicken. When our parents weren't watching, we used to swim as far out as we dared. It was about who would get scared and turn back first. Of course it was always me. Anton was by far the stronger swimmer and he had no excuse to fail."

Then later, as adults when they swim, and Vincent is beating the odds:
Anton: "Where's the shore? We're too far out!"
Vincent: "You wanna quit?"
Anton: "We're too far out!"
Vincent: "You wanna quit?"
Anton: "No!"
Anton: "How are you doing this Vincent? How have you done any of this? We have to go back."
Vincent: "It's too late for that. We're closer to the other side.
Anton: "What other side? You wanna drown us both?"
Vincent: "You wanna know how I did it? This is how I did it Anton. I never saved anything for the swim back."
"It was the one moment in our lives that my brother was not as strong as he believed, and I was not as weak. It was the moment that made everything else possible."
And that is what I think about. That moment. That moment made all the difference. It was then he realized that he could beat the system through hard work, ingenuity and self determination... and hope and faith. And to just keep going. Think about this:

"I never saved anything for the swim back."

1 comment:

shaine said...

I love this
"I never saved anything for the swim back." This has touched me and I've watched this movie. That moment just struck me...No words can express how this words will impact my life. Thanks for sharing again - it has reminded me to just keep going and going.