A few good men (1992) – where everybody is a good person

(note!) Spoilers ahead, don’t read the review unless you already saw the movie (note!)

I just saw A few good men (1992) for another time (I think I saw this movie more than 5 times, during the past about 20 years or so) and the top scenes more than that.

A Few Good Men (1992)

First, a clip (everybody knows your name):

(note!) Spoilers ahead, don’t read the review unless you already saw the movie (note!)

Now, my thesis:

  • Everybody in the movie „A few good men” (1992) is a good person.

Let me explain myself.

I’ll start with the bad guys:

ksLt. Jonathan Kendrick (Kiefer Sutherland):

  • He aims to please the powerful guys, and he is obedient to the ones he he has no reason to fear of; he is a bit of a weasel; actually, he’s closer with the general image of a lawyer/politician than of a military person;
  • But he wants to succeed, and, although, at times it may seem this does not to be worth it, still, he has results; he’s the bad guy obviously, he’s a coward, he can’t handle the stress of facing the truth, he uses his power with aggressiveness, he wants to dominate, he is obtuse; still, he gets decoration for his work, and succeeds; not the most handsome of models, but, still, in his way, a success; he is, partially, to be blamed for the crime against Pfc. William T. Santiago, he is a weasel and also an annoying guy; but, still, he has his merits;
  • In the movie, he probably gets sentenced in some way (Capt. Jack Ross goes to arrest him).

jn75-micCol. Nathan R. Jessup (Jack Nicholson):

  • He is obsessed with power; he wants to dominate, his obsession to win can be seen in everything he does; he is very arrogant;
  • But he has a lot of courage, he is brave and fearless; this dominates him, and he is much too aggressive at times, he has little remorse over killing a person, he is afraid to admit his mistakes, he loses control when he is arrested, he can’t control his anger; still, he is a brave man;
  • He ends poorly, arrested and probably serving some time, and losing his honors;

Kevin-Bacon-Wallpaper_Capt. Jack Ross (Kevin Bacon):

  • He wants to win at a too higher cost; he loses ethics, and common sense; he is too aggressive, at times; he plays by the book; he is obtuse, and has strict / illogical rules / principles;
  • But he does have a common sense, and a plain language, he is a good professional, admits (with difficulty) his mistakes; he is very logical and smart; he knows how to persuade others with language (although he manipulates things, see his speech, when he starts to say that facts are facts, and then he adds non-facts, but he still claims they are facts, also); he is a good guy;
  • While he loses the trial, he remains a good guy;

kpLt. Sam Weinberg (Kevin Pollak):

  • His fault is conforming to rules too much; little creativity, too much memory; he is also illogical, at times (picks on the accused soldiers for the wrong reasons); he fails for not trying (hard enough);
  • But he is a good guy, he finds balance in a personal life, he is contempt and happy, he looks for peace and serenity; he doesn’t like aggressiveness; he says little; but he does his job meticulously, he wants to get everything done;
  • At the end, there’s a small „Oh, it’s fine now” look on his face, when the judge says the verdict;

moore smallLt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore):

  • She has fears; she takes no liberties; she is the opposite of taking risks for having success; her fears dominate her so much, that he makes mistakes due to them; she has little self-trust; she is polite, plays by the rules; she focuses too much on details;
  • But she is fearless, and while her aggressiveness is rarely applied to others, she is strict with herself; she will not let anyone down, especially herself; she is brave to face others, although this costs her, at time, the value of friendship; at times, she is too polite, and plays too much by the rules, but at times she is sincere and honest; she wants to get results, and works toward goals; her lack of trust in her abilities make her constantly looking for approval / certifications / qualifications; she has good ethics;
  • She doesn’t marry Prince Charming, but the good guys succeed, and her plan works fine;

tom cruiseLt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise):

  • He doesn’t fit well into structures (he is late, he doesn’t follow rules), he is poorly organized, at times he is fearful of responsibilities, he puts winning above ethics, and he wants to please;
  • But he has excellent life skills, he is good with emotions, he has good instincts, he can negotiate well, he has great empathy, he is brave, he suffers when the weak ones lose, he can take the bull by the horns, he can create friendships, he is a good communicator, he is sincere; but, most of all, he is flexible enough to adapt to the situations around him; opposing to the military rituals (fanfare, rules, bureaucracy, he opposes creativity and an open mind;
  • He gets his knives, but he also builds up responsibility;

In smaller roles:

  • Judge Julius Alexander Randolph (J.A. Preston) – at times, not creative enough; but very good equilibrium and common sense;
  • Lt. Col. Matthew Andrew Markinson (J.T. Walsh) – he is afraid, he has fears, and they control him; the good he does is still based on fears and negativity (fear of doing something wrong); but he takes responsibilities, and assumes things;
  • Lance Cpl. Harold W. Dawson (Wolfgang Bodison) – he is inflexible, but he fights a lot for his principles;

Some conclusions?

  • All men („men” as in „people”, both men and women) are good men;
  • Life is full of paradoxes – the movie takes small glimpses out of everybody and exaggerates them – the good is good until the end, and the bad is bad until the end; in life, like I tried to show even with these fictional characters, things are much more mixed; there is good in evil and there is evil in good; the best guys have flaws, and the worst people have their goods; as in life, you just have to pick your part – whether you prefer the good or the evil;

The final conclusion?

  • Everybody knows your name and people, all of them, are good people.

P.S.: The major fault of the movie is the lack of logic of the admittance of mistake of Col. Nathan R. Jessup (Jack Nicholson). All the movie he is trying hard to hide things, and, at the crucial moment, he can’t keep his mouth shut. That’s a bit fictional. Nicely put, good acting, intense emotions, but fictional, nevertheless.

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