The Ballad of Jack and The Establishment

It’s not hard to guess that I would be a Daniel day Lewis fan. Who isn’t ? So to complete his pack, I watched The ballad of Jack and Rose. It’s the story in mid 80s of an ex-hippy who was the last person still living in a commune, with his teen daughter in a small island off the US east cost, maybe near Boston. The movie has a slight angle about his daughter having a crush on him, mostly because there’s no one else around. But I want to talk about something else.

He is a very hardcore Liberal hippy, powers his house with a windmill which he himself made, recycles and composts everything, home schools his daughter, and only smokes self-rolled weed. He is against all capitalist incursions, especially a pre-made housing project coming up on the other side of his island which would kill the natural swamp of the area. He regularly vandalizes the development.

And towards the end of the movie, he drives down to the developer’s house(someone who’s interested even in HIS property) to inform he’s burned down another one of his houses. Jack is dying, and wants to vent his frustration on this man endangering the local ecosystem( or so is his pretense). The developer reasons with him, saying the people who live in these houses prefer the comfort and familiarity of a pre-fabricated house, and that the govt is okay with endangering the local swamp since it leads to so much economic development for the islanders. He also gives a generous offer for Jack’s house, saying the money would enable his daughter get a top class education.

In a scene of great acting by Day-Lewis, Jack breaks down on the breakfast table and accepts the offer, saying the burden of being the last of his kind had been too much for him, and admits in a moment of clarity(for a dying man) that the difference in their points of view was largely a matter of taste, that he just plain hated the look of the pre-built houses. Dylan’s “one more cup of coffee for the road” plays on the radio, and the father-daughter drive back home. Take what you will from this.

Physics, Films, Fiction, Food, Football, …and travel and history

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