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Hammerle on ... 'The Company You Keep', 'Star Trek Into Darkness'

Robert Hammerle
June 5, 2013
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The Company You Keep

Well, good people, it’s time to stop and smell the cinematic roses, as Robert Redford’s “The Company You Keep” is a fine film on multiple levels. To begin with, while you may have known that this intriguing drama stars both Mr. Redford and Shia LaBeouf, did you know that Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Richard Jenkins, Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci, Anna Kendrick, Brendon Gleeson and Sam Elliott are also in this film? Isn’t that enough to pry you out of your malaise and get into the theater to see what this film is all about?

It centers on suspected members of the Weather Underground from the 1970s being arrested in New York 30 years after their alleged involvement in a bank robbery that resulted in a guard being killed. Susan Sarandon’s Sharon Solarz, the mother of two, was arrested in New York by the FBI while trying to turn herself in, and Robert Redford’s character is forced on the run as her suspected accomplice. Mr. Redford, playing the widowed father of a 12-year-old daughter, is at his laconic best as a lawyer trying to protect his past while not revealing the involvement of old friends.rating1.jpg
Despite the fact that these old Vietnam War protesters have kept a tight bond despite hiding from public view for three decades, it comes unraveled with the work of a young newspaperman played by Mr. LaBeouf. Fighting to keep his job, he is the first one to track the intentions of Mr. Redford’s character as he flees to the Midwest. Is he trying to protect himself or simply others?

In the process, Mr. Redford’s Nick Sloan reunites with his old lover, Mimi, played by the still beautiful

Ms. Christie. How can you possibly save yourself if it involves sending someone forever etched on your soul to prison? Watching their characters confront each other is as mesmerizing as it is moving, and you end up reliving your reflections of both as actors as they relive their relationship as young protesters who were convinced they were fighting on the right side of justice.
The value of “The Company You Keep” extends beyond its entertainment as a film. Even if you are too young to have experienced the turmoil surrounding the Vietnam War debacle of the 1960s and 70s, you need to remember.

Tragically, Sloan’s young friends did the unthinkable by robbing a bank when their protest deepened. While certainly inexcusable, over 50,000 young American boys were to die in Vietnam while our government and others ignored the consequences. A 1969 college graduate, I, like many, continued peaceful protests. Yet how could we really condemn protests turning to violence after college kids were gunned down at Kent State in 1968?

Finally, if you want to see a brilliant film that plays upon the theme captured by Mr. Redford, then go see Sidney Lumet’s “Running on Empty” (1988). The late River Phoenix was unforgettable as a young kid constantly running for years with his parents and sister as a result of the bombing of a “Dow-like” building where a janitor was killed. With the help of old friends like that experienced by the characters of Mr. Redford, Ms. Sarandon and Ms. Christie, Judd Hirsch and Christine Lahti were hunted parents who could never spend more than several months at any location. Like the characters of Redford and Sarandon, they had a child who had to be released into the real world, a move that would forever separate them from one another.

While “The Company You Keep” embraces cerebral themes as opposed to “Running on Empty’s” emotional foundation, they both help you understand the consequences of opposing your government’s perfidy in sending massive numbers of young Americans to an undeserved grave. Mistakes were made by parents in both movies when they were young and inspired, but the deaths they inadvertently caused did not compare to those lying in Vietnam’s ashes.

Who was really at fault and who was to blame? You tell me.

Star Trek Into Darkness

I find it safe to say that most of you will find J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek Into Darkness” to be a completely fun ride. While you don’t need to be a fan of the old TV series, the film won’t disappoint if you find yourself in that league.

While William Shatner certainly wishes he had Chris Pine’s penetrating blue eyes, they both are chips off the same Captain Kirk block. Arrogant yet caring and bullheaded to a fault, they will always find the ability to lead the Enterprise out of the cauldron they created.
rating2.jpg Zachary Quinto is a young Mr. Spock, whose dedication to intellect over emotion frequently annoys his comrades, not to mention himself. While Spock and Kirk often battle, they would give their lives for the other.

Furthermore, Karl Urban strikes the right chord as the pugnacious Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, and he helps you remember the fun brought to the screen by the late DeForest Kelley. In addition, Simon Pegg, the very funny Englishman who I hope you have seen in such scatological endearing films as “Paul” (2011), “Hot Fuzz” (2007), and “Shaun of the Dead” (2004), makes the neurotic Scotty a full-time treat.

But the film clicks due to a wonderful performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, here playing Khan, a human-looking ball of destruction. As a result of shedding the necessity of artificial makeup, Cumberbatch’s Khan has been able to survive the centuries for one specific purpose, namely to get even with everyone. He’s a great villain.

Finally, the success of the film centers on a group of friends rediscovering each other’s strengths while gradually rejecting their personal weaknesses. They all need to be reeled in at times, and Spock is helped immensely from the fact that he is in love with Uhura. Zoe Saldana is able to do a lot with very little, and her Uhura is able to pierce Spock’s heart in the same way her Neytiri did to Sam Worthington in “Avatar” (2009).

Climb aboard and blast off.•

__________

Robert Hammerle practices criminal law in Indianapolis. When he is not in the courtroom or working diligently in his Pennsylvania Street office, Bob can likely be found at one of his favorite movie theaters watching and preparing to review the latest films. To read more of his reviews, visit www.bigmouthbobs.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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