To End All Wars
Based on a true story, it is about a Japanese P.O.W. camp during World War II, which becomes the battleground for the souls as well as the lives of its Scottish and British prisoners. The movie revolves around Ernest Gordon, a young soldier who wants to teach philosophy. And when Gordon recovers from seeming death by illness, the other prisoners agree to become Grodon's pupils, studying Plato, Shakespeare, and the Bible. Gordon's superior officer, Ian Campbell, scoffs at the increasingly pacificist bent of Gordon's teachings. While Jim Reardon, a lone American running a black market, is equally skeptical. However, under the relentless brutality of the camp, the only way for the soldiers to survive is to find what gives their lives meaning.
When I first watched the trailer, I am so touched by Dusty's (a christian among the P.O.W) sacrificial act for requesting to die in place of Ian, when Ian and his gang were sentenced to be killed as punishment for attempting to escape and murdered two Japanese guards during the process. Dusty was later crucified on the cross by the Japanese Lieutenant, who mocked at Dusty, dispelling it as mere superstition. And during the whole gruesome process, Dusty did not once break down, but had told the Japanese Lieutenant to do it. In my heart, I know that the Japanese Lieutenant's heart must have been touched and softened, as he did shed a tear when he witnessed Dusty hanging on the cross to die. However, pride has a firm grip on him, and it seems to be impossible for him to repent for what he did.
Jim's experience was also an inspirational one. He used to be a self pleasure seeking fellow involving in black market trading. But he was caught red-handed and punished by tying his hands and legs to 4 poles on the ground and exposing him to the sun and rain for days and nights. During that few days, he totally broke down, and was a new person after he was released. Impressively, during an incident where the Japanese Lieutenant threatened to punish the whole group if no one would confess for hiding a shovel, Jim stepped to the front and was thus beaten mercilessly with a shovel for disciplinary actions. However, the beatings was interrupted when the Japanese store man announced that it was a mis-count. The Japanese Lieutenant was so shocked and ashamed that he almost beat his store man to death with that shovel. Now, what could have caused the man who used to think only for himself, to now act for the good of all?
Overall, this is one good film with a very strong christian message, which at the end shows that the group of P.O.W forgave the Japanese soldiers by treating their wounded. Indeed, with the men of God standing strong in faith, they have turned the jungle into a civilization with hope. Ernst Gorden became the Chaplain at Princeton University after the war.
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