I am going to discuss a movie and one scene in particular. It is in my opinion, one of the greatest scenes in movie history. It may not be perfect in execution, but it is perfect in conceptualization.
This scene demonstrates perfectly the Jekyll and Hyde effect of drugs and alcohol. I didn’t come up with my interpretation of the scene on the first viewing but, once I had, it has become a thing I watch from time to time.
This scene is from the movie Warrior (2011) Which is about two estranged brothers who, for different reasons are in an MMA big money tournament. (Yeah, myself and the producers of the movie get it. What do you care about a couple of MMA fighters? See second part of second sentence of this post.) They haven’t seen each other in years because when their parents divorced, the younger brother went to live with the mother and the older brother stayed with the drunk father (Nick Nolte,) but, only because he was in love with his high school sweetheart. The younger brother (Tom Hardy) is consumed by rage generated at his drunk father, his brother who abandoned him, and the world. He sees the tournament as, a means to an end and has asked his estranged, now sober, father to train him.
I found this perfect edit on youtube… Please watch the clip…
It starts with the father (Nick Nolte) drunkenly talking to himself. He stumbles around while listening to Moby Dick on tape, (which he does perpetually throughout the movie) pleading for the men, Ahab, Ishmael, anyone on the Pequod to stop the ship.
Tommy opens his door and when his father sees him, he’s seen as still embodying all the anger and hatred he demonstrated last night, so his drunk father perceives him as Ahab and turns on him and demands he stop the ship.
Then the energy of the emotion of Tommy pushes through the fog and he has some clarity. He sees it’s his son. He then drunkenly turns it all back onto himself and sees himself as Ahab and begs himself to stop the ship, and then reveals why the ship must stop or turn…because; “They’re lost.”
They are his family. He is back decades ago with his wife and two boys… and the drunk inside himself.
The non-addict in himself can see they are headed down the wrong path, away from his well thought out vision for the family he loves so much. But the angry drunk Captain Ahab is powerful and steering the course of the family in all the important ways.
So, he is actually, pleading with himself. And spirals down the black hole of historic shame.
Tommy intervenes and that brings him back to the present. That is when a big reveal happens, “Tommy, we’re lost, we’re all lost, Tommy. We’ll never make it back. We’ll never make it back.”
He is referring to the man he was before he was a drunk, and the plans he made for his wife and family. That plan had a defined path and destination. The destination was a happy marriage with two healthy, successful sons. But, the drunk took over and sent them all down a much worse, much more fragmented and shamed filled path.
That original path with its beautiful destination is behind them now. But, when you are in that dark alcohol-fueled place that is so deep inside, time is uncertain. The past is so near and familiar because that is where the shame is, and you visit it often. In that hole, you can start to see in grander schemes, and see your fragmented family is strewn across their own timelines, all lost to the original destination you so lovingly had crafted in your mind. You drunkenly think if you could just scream loud enough across all time and space, they would hear you and turn around…you could all regroup in 1976 and start again. But, they’re all lost.
Sadly, we can’t go back. All he can do is tell his son he’s sorry, and beg him to understand he’s always loved and been proud of him and his brother. He never meant to do and say all the hurtful things he did, and he surely didn’t mean for the family to be destroyed.
I think every addict can understand that scene. Understands the road not chosen, even though you so badly wanted to.
Understand the regret, the shame, and anger we turn on ourselves for not being able to overpower Ahab and steer towards home. Nobody is that strong.
Please pray for those suffering from addiction of all types.
Go buy the movie. Don’t start looking where you can stream it. Go buy it. Then when friends come over, make them watch it.
If they don’t want to watch it, put them in a hold from the movie, and say, “the way out is in Brenden’s third fight!”
Then tell them it’s a lot more, than a movie about MMA fighting.