Author Topic: The shared flashback  (Read 2599 times)

Offline saucycobblers

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The shared flashback
« on: June 27, 2006, 03:07:23 pm »
I read a really interesting idea in a Sight & Sound article on BBM, where the reviewer talks about the flashback being shared between Ennis & Lureen during the phone scene (it's not online as far as I know so I can't post a link). I posted this idea on IMdB and one poster vehemently attacked the idea and said the reviewer was 'wrong'. Whilst i took his point that the cutting of the scene might link the flashback to Ennis, IMO there are never 'right' or 'wrong' answers with film, only interpretations, and I thought this idea of a shared flashback that links Ennis and Lureen for the briefest of moments was an interesting one which enriches an already complex movie.

Any thoughts?
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Offline dly64

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Re: The shared flashback
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2006, 04:10:17 pm »
I read a really interesting idea in a Sight & Sound article on BBM, where the reviewer talks about the flashback being shared between Ennis & Lureen during the phone scene (it's not online as far as I know so I can't post a link). I posted this idea on IMdB and one poster vehemently attacked the idea and said the reviewer was 'wrong'. Whilst i took his point that the cutting of the scene might link the flashback to Ennis, IMO there are never 'right' or 'wrong' answers with film, only interpretations, and I thought this idea of a shared flashback that links Ennis and Lureen for the briefest of moments was an interesting one which enriches an already complex movie.

Any thoughts?

Hmmm ... that sounds like an interesting point of view, but I don't agree with it. What is shown, IMO, is in Ennis' mind. There is an ambiguity, however, about how Jack really died. Was it as Lureen said? Was it the way Ennis envisioned it? I've seen some articles that indicate Lureen is lying. Honestly, I can't tell from their phone conversation one way or the other. Personally, I like the nebulousness so everyone can interpret it the way s/he wants and we can discuss in a forum like this!  :)
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Offline opinionista

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Re: The shared flashback
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2006, 06:09:08 pm »
Hmmm ... that sounds like an interesting point of view, but I don't agree with it. What is shown, IMO, is in Ennis' mind. There is an ambiguity, however, about how Jack really died. Was it as Lureen said? Was it the way Ennis envisioned it? I've seen some articles that indicate Lureen is lying. Honestly, I can't tell from their phone conversation one way or the other. Personally, I like the nebulousness so everyone can interpret it the way s/he wants and we can discuss in a forum like this!  :)

I don't agree either. I don't think the flashback is shared, it's Ennis mind. In fact, I even think Jack's death was indeed an accident but Proulx is ambiguous about it to show Ennis' state of mind. It's too much of a coincidence that Jack is also killed with a tire iron. I mean, there are countless of ways of killing a person. It can't be always a tire iron. I think the author wanted to show that Ennis was so afraid of being killed, he couldn't even consider that Jack's death could've been an accident.
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Offline dly64

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Re: The shared flashback
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2006, 09:42:40 am »
I don't agree either. I don't think the flashback is shared, it's Ennis mind. In fact, I even think Jack's death was indeed an accident but Proulx is ambiguous about it to show Ennis' state of mind. It's too much of a coincidence that Jack is also killed with a tire iron. I mean, there are countless of ways of killing a person. It can't be always a tire iron. I think the author wanted to show that Ennis was so afraid of being killed, he couldn't even consider that Jack's death could've been an accident.

I completely agree with you. It emphasizes Ennis' fear and paranoia. Technically, it could have happened the way Ennis envisioned .... I just don't think it did. But, as with so many things that makes this story remarkable, we will never know. It is up to the individual to decide.
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Offline Luvlylittlewing

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Re: The shared flashback
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2006, 01:01:46 am »
This is really an interesting theory.  However, I don't think Ennis and Lureen had a shared flashback.  It is late, so forgive me if I'm not making sense, but why would Lureen know how Jack was "done" if he was murdered?  I suppose she could have imagined, but the flashback is very specific, the number of men involved, the tire iron.  I suppose the coroner would have figured out what weapon was used to kill Jack if it wasn't found at the scene and Lureen would have been told.  But the flashback seems too specific for Lureen to image, IMO.  Now Ennis had more of a reference because of what his father told him and what he saw with his own eyes as a boy.  Does this make any sense?

Offline RouxB

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Re: The shared flashback
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2006, 01:23:33 am »
I'm a sheep-I don't really buy that theory either. I have never felt a need to know how Jack died so don't subscribe to one interpretation over the other (but I hope it was the accident). I have argued uh, passionately  ;) , that the cause of death is meant to be ambiguous and have certainly been in a pout when it argued otherwise  :P


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Offline Meryl

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Re: The shared flashback
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2006, 01:41:14 am »
The shared flashback is an interesting idea, but littlewing makes a good point--Lureen wouldn't know the details of the attack, and for that matter, neither would Ennis.

There's a third possibility.  The director could simply be showing us the truth, allowing us to use that information in deciding how to interpret both Ennis's and Lureen's behavior.
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Offline dly64

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Re: The shared flashback
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2006, 12:55:50 pm »
The shared flashback is an interesting idea, but littlewing makes a good point--Lureen wouldn't know the details of the attack, and for that matter, neither would Ennis.

There's a third possibility.  The director could simply be showing us the truth, allowing us to use that information in deciding how to interpret both Ennis's and Lureen's behavior.

From what I have read, the third option seems unlikely. In all the interviews with Diana Ossana, Larry McMurty, and Ang Lee (as well as critics) it is meant to be ambiguous. Therefore, the viewer can make up his/her own mind.
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Offline Midnight24

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Re: The shared flashback
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2006, 02:44:42 pm »
There's a third possibility.  The director could simply be showing us the truth, allowing us to use that information in deciding how to interpret both Ennis's and Lureen's behavior.

That's what I had thought at first, but now I see it as Ennis's flashback and not a scene of what really had happened to Jack. I really feel that they left it up to the individual to decide what happens and that the guys beating Jack was just what Ennis interpreted.
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Offline saucycobblers

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Re: The shared flashback
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2006, 07:39:25 pm »
Great discussion ladies!

It emphasizes Ennis' fear and paranoia.

I'd never thought about it this way, and I like this idea a lot. Many of you have said things along similar lines and i like the idea that Lureen might be telling the truth and Ennis's fear leads him to interpret it differently. This makes me think of his reaction to the white truck when he rejects Jack after the divorce, and his fear of being seen when they re-unite initially. It's almost as if he imagines he's being watched when he's not, but is unaware of when he is actually being watched (by Alma). The curious thing is that in the book it's implied that he knew Alma had seen them, but not in the film. So he's only really afraid of men seeing him and Jack together.

But the flashback seems too specific for Lureen to image, IMO.  Now Ennis had more of a reference because of what his father told him and what he saw with his own eyes as a boy.  Does this make any sense?

Hey Littlewing! I think we had a similar discussion about this on an IMdB thread. Glad to see you here... I used to enjoy reading your posts  :)
« Last Edit: June 30, 2006, 07:44:26 pm by saucycobblers »
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Offline Luvlylittlewing

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Re: The shared flashback
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2006, 09:01:08 pm »
To Saucycobblers, Thanks!  I'm glad to be here!