Many of us have been there. Many of us have sat where Kyle Reese is sitting in this shot. Not in the way that many of us have been sent back from the future, or many of us have been arrested and questioned by the LAPD. No, the place many of us have been to is that place where you can see what’s coming, and you try to warn others…only to have your warning go unheeded. Or worse, your warning gets flat-out ignored.
In this story of course, Reese knows with certainty what’s about to happen and is being dismissed because…well…he’s a little intense…and a little nuts. But what might have happened in the story if the LAPD had listened to Reese and sent he and Sarah Connor on their way? Might there have been a bit less bloodshed? What about in the next film, what might have happened if all those psychiatrists (including our friend on the left here) had listened to Sarah Connor? And on and on it goes.
The frustrating part in this situation isn’t being right when nobody else realizes it. No, the really frustrating bit is being right and having the people you’re trying to warn not even listen. Our friendly doctor on the left can barely keep his eyes open, his friend from the precinct on the right is wondering if he still has any smokes left in his pocket. Meanwhile, they make Reese tell his story again as if they didn’t understand it the first time. So the already testy Reese gets even testier (somewhat visible in his reflection between them) while he resells his story to an unreceptive audience. What’s more, he’s been around the block enough times to know that more people are listening on the other side of the mirror.
It’s not being arrested that has Reese wound-up, certainly the soldier in him gets that. It’s that he’s being asked to explain himself and nobody wants to truly hear the explanation. He doesn’t know how it will immediately impact them, but inside he knows that in the long-term they will all be affected. He’s done a bit more than reading the tea leaves, but nobody around him so much as wants to glimpse into the cup.
Most of us don’t experience anything that goes to this nutty extent of course, but we do see this time and again in our lives. One way or another, someone somewhere comes across a crucial piece of information.
It could be a practice that will bankrupt their company, or a foreign policy that will have unintended ripples, or an environmental practice that is slowly but surely destroying our planet. If they even speak up about it – and that’s a big if – they have to hope that they can convince a wickedly cynical audience. The audience might disagree with them – heck, the audience might even think they are flat-out nuts.
That’s the frustrating part. It’s not being dismissed, it’s not trying to convince people that “the earth is round”. It’s the feeling that your words aren’t even being listened to. That the people you are trying to convince are just placating you. They aren’t going to take your ideas, mull them over, see where they stand and get back to you. Nope, they are just there to endure your testimony before they go back to business-as-usual.
It’s enough to drive a person nuts.
Here’s three more from THE TERMINATOR for the road…
This series of posts is inspired by the “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” series at The Film Experience. Do check out all of the awesome entires in their series so far