Monday 11 December 2006

Forrest Gump (1994) - ickleReview (TV)

Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) was a dumb, crippled kid from Greenbow, Alabama who grew up to be an all-American hero: college football star, Vietnam war hero, ping-pong player, shrimp boat captain, corporation owner, inspirational long-distance runner, und so weiter. It's a cross between Rain Man and Born on the Fourth of July. His life story is wonderfully implausible, narrated waiting on a bustop bench to whoever is sitting there, not always listening. His life-long sweatheart, Jenny (Robin Wright Penn), abused by her father as a child, struggles through life as a stripper, hippy, drug addict and waitress, never far from Forrest's thoughts, which are predominantly simple, sometimes profound, always endearing. The film is focalized through Forrest's low IQ of 75, told with a naivety that looks at the world anew and that shows but doesn't tell the (presumably smarter) audience what's going on: that Jenny's father is an alcoholic widower whose hugging and kissing of his daughters isn't as loving as it sounds; that there are rather a lot of political assassinations in America's recent history; that drug addicts died from AIDS, and so on.

In the mid-nineties there was excitement over the film's CGI faux-documentary footage of Forrest Gump meeting the president (twice) and appearing in news footage about racial segregation while at college. Twelve years later these inserts still stand up quite well, but look a little shakey. I suppose they were always supposed to look a little odd - a bit like those video mixes of Blair and Bush singing "Gay Bar".

Nugget: some wonderful touches and still compelling to watch after a number of previous viewings. At 142 minutes it is stretching running-time etiquette but I think, in this case, it is justified because there are simply so many crazy stories to cram in. I wonder what quirks they left out.

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