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Moments - 04 - The Rock (Shower Room Shoot-Out)

'Welcome to the Rock.'

By BoblobV2Published 3 years ago 3 min read

The Rock is one of the first films that I remember watching, and after all these years, it has remained in my mind. The characters, the narrative, the action, the soundtrack are all well executed. Though what has left the strongest impression was the shower room scene at the midway point in the film. In my younger years why that scene stood out was a mystery to me, however with age and understanding, meaning and interpretation has come about leading me to appreciate the scene even more than simply liking it because it was cool.

The set up is as such, a group of US Marines are holding the United States government to ransom by housing chemical weapons in Alcatraz pointed at the city. Hoping to have the families of fallen soldiers supported for their sacrifice. This group of Marines are led by Brigadier General Hummel. Meanwhile a team of Navy SEALs break into the prison with the help of John Mason and chemist Stanley Goodspeed in the hopes of neutralizing the threat. During their infiltration they get caught by the marines in the shower room and are told to surrender.

What was fascinating from a narrative point of view is the fact that at this point, this would be the first of multiple engagements between the two teams, chipping away at each other's resources until the concluding battle. However, this film chooses to go down a different route where the entirety of the Navy SEALs team is wiped out as soon as they infiltrate the prison leaving only Mason and Goodspeed. This proceeds to elevate the stakes, not only for the leads of the film, but also for those that are under threat of attack. The dramatic and character stakes are as high as they could be following this scene.

From a character point of view, it makes every action that is performed all the more valuable as a single mistake would lead to something catastrophic. What the SEAL team provided was a safety net, however with them being taken out of the equation, failure means a lot more. In the grand scheme of things while the entire city is at risk, the main human, and personal drive are the ones that the character loves being threatened by the potential launch of the missiles.

Despite these writing machinations, what is embedded in my mind is the interaction between Commander Anderson and General Hummel. Short as it was, it is very good. These are two men that are a part of the same coin, and on any other mission they may well have been on the same side. However, in this one instance they happen to fall on either side of the coin. Facing each other rather than a mutual enemy. What is wonderful is the fact that neither party is portrayed as solely good or solely bad, but shades of both. So much so to the point that they are of mutual agreement on the mistreatment of soldiers from the government.

At a core level, this is a great example of how two leaders stand facing each other knowing that neither one could stand down from each other. While their positions are the same, their approaches are not, and as a result are at odds with each other. Starting with a near whisper, till the voices climb higher and higher, raising the tension in the room to the point that any catalyst would have sufficed for the shootout to proceed. Yet despite this, General Hummel screams for a ceasefire, while the SEALs fight to the last. Leaving the general to lament the further loss of the lives of fellow soldiers.


About the Creator


Writing about anime, and anything else I find interesting.

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