The movie "Cool Hand Luke", written by Donn Pearce and directed by Stuart Rosenberg, is a movie about a chain gang in the earlier half of the twentieth century. The main character, Luke, played by Paul Newman, is a character who wants to be his own boss, and who is determined to escape from the road prison he is serving his two year sentence at. When Luke first arrives at the prison, nobody really takes a liking to him. It’s only after Luke’s constant disregard for the rules and regulations that he hates give his fellow inmates some form of hope for themselves. Dragline, the inmate who seems to have the most authority over his fellow inmates, comes to love Luke like a brother. The attempt is made in this movie to show that no matter what happens, people should always have hope, and shouldn’t take their problems too seriously.
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The first example of the need for hope in one’s life is Luke’s constant longing to escape from the road prison. Luke makes an effort to run away from the prison three different times. After the first time, Luke is captured and brought back to the prison, and made to wear another set of chains. After the second time he escapes, Luke is beaten by the bosses and forced to do manual labor until he is on the verge of exhaustion. That night, he tells the bosses he has got his mind right, and he will do whatever they say from then on. Not too long after that, Luke escapes from the chain gang by stealing one of the government trucks and driving away. Luke never gave up hope of getting out of the prison.
An excellent example of not taking problems too seriously is in the end of the movie. The police track Luke down yet again, after his third escape, while he is seeking advice in a deserted church. Dragnet rushes into the building and tells Luke that the police are all around the church and that Luke needs to give up peacefully. Luke looks out the window and realizes that there is no way he could escape from all the policemen that are surrounding the building. but Luke just opens the window, smiles and yells, “What we have here is a failure to communicate!” This action cost Luke his life, but he did it because he didn’t take his problems so seriously.
Lastly, the need for hope in life is exemplified through Luke’s constant search for God. When Luke is standing out in the rain, and everyone is telling him to come into the truck for fear that he’ll get struck by lightning, Luke ignores them. He yells to the skies to give him some sign of a God. He has hope that there is, and he doesn’t back down. This hope for God is also shown when Luke escapes from prison the third time, and ends up in the deserted church building. He prays and asks for some sign of a God even though things are looking very bleek for him. Luke never gives up hope of finding God.
The attempt is made in this movie to show that no matter what happens, people should always have hope, and shouldn’t take their problems too seriously. The main character, Luke, exemplifies the hope and faith that people need in their lives. He also never takes his problems too seriously, which is another characteristic that people need in their lives.
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