November 12, 2014
Movie Review: “Cool Hand Luke”
Directed By: Stuart Rosenberg “
Cool Hand Luke” is a story of a man lost in his ways, a man that had endured such defeat that he questioned the existence of God. While in an inebriated state, Lucas Jackson began destroying municipal property by bashing the heads off of parking meters. While this may seem like a petty crime by today's standards in society, in the rural South during the early 1960's, the era of civil unrest and zero tolerance for crimes no matter the offense, he was treated like a hardened criminal.
This is a story of a man unjustifiably sentenced to a life of inhumane treatment by the government, a decorated veteran that honorably served his country, earning a silver and bronze star, as well as a couple purple hearts, broken down by the system. The film portrays the struggles of prison life, the rules one must abide by in order to survive, to fit in with other inmates, and to avoid the harsh treatment of the Captain/Bosses. Also reflected in this film is the intensive labor forced upon the backs of these men and the condition in which they lived. Overall, this film reveals the relentless passions of a man that believes wholeheartedly that he deserves to be free and is willing to do anything, even sacrifice his own life to obtain his
freedom. Revealing the strength, courage and determination to escape this hell, that ultimately led him to a new found peace with himself but most importantly God.
Luke found himself in a paddy wagon headed to prison camp. While in prison Luke was challenged by the head inmate to a fight. Luke did not have a standing chance against his opponent, Dragline, who stood over six feet tall and over two hundred pounds. Luke was merely a skinny little fellow, not much taller than the height of the bunk bed in which he slept. Luke took a pounding but refused to give up, no matter how many times he went down, he continued to fight to get back up. Inmates were begging him to stay down, unable to watch as he was being battered by the hands of Dragline. From that point on he had earned the respect of all the inmates by showing his courage and determination, but mostly he impressed Dragline. Dragline tried to be his right hand man, always praising Luke and stroking his ego.
While playing a round of cards, Luke placed high wagers calling the bluff of the other players. When Luke revealed his cards, he said to Drag, "sometimes nothing can be a cool hand," since then he was referred to as
Cool Hand Luke. Everything was going great. Luke took on the lead role by encouraging the other inmates to work faster and finish sooner to allow themselves time to relax.
Just as things seemed to be cooling down, Luke received a surprise visit from Arletta, his mother. Arletta arrived in the back of a pickup truck, laid out on a bed with nets surrounding her.
She was obviously ill and possibly dying of lung disease as she ceased to put down a cigarette during the entire visit. Shortly after the visit, Luke received a letter alerting him of his mother’s death. The Captain took it upon himself to remove Luke from the chain gang and place him in
the hot box (small wooden shack roughly three feet by three feet wide). There was nowhere to sit, no way of lying down, and no place to relieve himself besides the two buckets provided by the guards.
Once Luke was allowed back on the chain gang, he decides to make a run for it. He didn't get but maybe a mile and a half before the blue and the other hounds tracked him down. Upon his return like had been beaten, the inmates placed him on the table and cared for his wounds. Placed in shackles, Luke was able to work with the chain gang once again, this time, force to act as a slave to the guards every demand. This lost Luke the respect of the other inmates as they view him as a