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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Last Castle


I had nothing much to do last night. Went to kak Yun's house to return a book I had borrowed then I went back home and switched on the tv. The Gilmore Girls was on so I watched it. I used to never miss the Gilmore Girls but since I missed the first few episodes of this season, I have never really followed the series anymore but I could still understand the plot though. Nothing much different there since I last watched it.

Then after it had ended, I proceeded to read a book I had bought last week but then another tv drama was on. Nip/Tuck. Never really watched it before but I haven't missed the past three episodes. Still deciding if I'm gonna continue watching the series or not as its not as intruiging as Prison Break, CSI bla.. bla.. nor does it bring out the busybody in me like Desperate Housewives. But for now, I think its an ok series.

Then I switched off the tv, went to brush my teeth and wash my face and wanted to go asleep. However, as I've been having trouble sleeping these past few week, I was a bit frustrated when I realized I wasn't sleepy yet. I hate it when I'm not sleepy coz I'd be pondering on thoughts I'd rather push aside. Didn't help that I felt so alone last night after Elie had went to retire in her room.

So once again, I switched on the tube.

I had read in the papers that there was a midnight movie, The Last Castle. Wasn't really planning to watch that as if I'm not mistaken, this was already aired a few weeks ago and during that time, I had only watched the movie for the first 5 minutes and decided it was quite boring. However, the next day, Erwan (who does not really watch movies that much) told me he loved the movie and it had kept him awake since he wanted to know the ending of it. Still, didn't believe him much then haha..

But then, just my luck, there was nothing else on tv so as I was ready to switch off the tv, my hands once again pressed TV3. It was showing a scene where the main character, General Irwin, was meeting up with his daughter after he had entered prison. Remembering Erwan's word, I decided to give this movie another try..

Turns out, I forgot all about feeling down and lonely and was finding myself getting engrossed in the movie. I didn't watch it from the beginning so I had to quickly try understand what was going on.

Apparantly, it was about this high security prison for the U.S. Army offenders. Gen Irwin was 'admitted' into this facility on an offense I'm not sure of as I didn't watch the earlier part. He was known to most of these soldiers whether they were the prisoners or the guards. The warden, Colonel Winters was especially impressed with Irwin as Irwin has always been an example for the U.S. Army. However, this view changed when he found out Irwin did not share his opinion on how to run the prison.

Though during his job as the warden, there has been no escapes nor extreme fight where guards or prisoners were killed, he failed to gain the respect of the prisoners as he ruled with an iron fist (?). Irwin who has always been loyal to his men, always confronted Winters and criticizes his methods. To Irwin: once a soldier, always a soldier. So the pride of once being the servent of the U.S. Army should always stay in their hearts, though they are prisoners.

The problem was, Winters methods not only made them lose the pride of being in the army, but also the pride of being a human being as he made the prisoners see themselves as low lives. This changed when Irwin entered the jail and he repeatedly reminded the prisoners that they should have respect for themselves and never stain the name of the U.S. Army they once worked for.

One of the first scenes I managed to see that somehow touched me was when this Cpl. Ramon Aguilar met with Irwin. He stuttered a bit when he talked, already making us feel a bit sorry for him before we even saw how lowly he saw himslef. Then Irwin asked him how many years did he serve the army which he answered 2 years. And how long was the duration of his wrong doing that made him be sent there and he answered it was a 5 second moment of anger. So Irwin told him,"From my calculations, you're more a soldier!" which made Aguilar happy.

He asked Aguilar why they kept raising their hands and holding their hair so Aquilar explained, they were not allowed to salute in the prison and would be punished if they did, so this was what they did as means of a salute. However, Irwin told him to have pride in the salute and told him about the history of the salute which I didn't even know until yesterday. This led to Aquilar being punished to stand in the yard while raising his hand in a salute all night after Winters saw him saluting.

You sympathize him when you saw him standing in the rain, shivering. When the morning horn was sounded, Aguilar wanted to go back but was ordered to continue his punishment. However, Irwin interfered by stopping the guard with his hand and telling Winters that the regulations of the prison was that no punishment exceeded the morning horn. This however, led to his own punishment of moving rocks. You'd feel very mad when Winters ordered Irwin to still continue moving rocks, though he had already finished his pile, till the evening horn.

But this made him gain the respect of the other prisoners, so slowly he installed the pride back into them. This was clearly seen when Aguilar, who had always been picked by the other prisoners became more confident in himself and when the guards wanted to destroy a wall the prisoners had made together, he defied orders and stood in front of the bulldozer which ended in him being shot by a guard.

However, this just made the prisoners even more determine to topple Winters as the warden. They didn't mind being in prison as they knew they had done wrong, but they didn't want him as the warden.

At the end of it, the prisoners took over the prison. Yates, a prisoner who was once sceptical, in the end was the one who stole the American flag to be raised upside down to show that the prison was out of control and needed help from outside.

In the end, it was revealed that Irwin even gained the respect of the guards. They did not obey Winters orders to shoot him so Winters took matter into his own hands as Irwin tried to raise the flag as they had planned. However, the true soldier in Irwin also emerged to show how much he respects the flag as he didn't raise it upside down at all.

Haha.. I'm not a good story teller here but you gotta see it to believe it. I won't mind watching it again :)

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