If you’re interested in participating in the Geek Out Challenge, read this post here! Each day I will be posting a question for that day for the next 30 days. Follow along each day with your own post or feel free to wait until the entire challenge has been released and take it on when you like! Be sure to link back to the master post at the end or link back to each post for each day.
Day Eighteen: Which character would you like to meet in real life?
It’s interesting to reflect on the fictional characters that have influenced my life, those that have been a consistent presence whose actions and narrative have shaped my morality and principles to some extent. Equally those that have faded as I have aged and grown. From a holistic perspective, one can observe fictional characters and by default, modern day fiction depicted across the various media platforms as our modern day parables and stories passed across the generational divide. Just as those, stories of old served to imbue a sense of morality and virtue to a waiting audience, so today we can draw inspiration from well defined and written characters. From a personal perspective, as an avid fan of various media type, I could probably produce a list of characters over the years whose actions have inspired me or at the very least given me pause for thought. My first inclination when I saw this question coming up was of course, a certain English actor who I described in detail as the real life geek I idolise in an earlier post in this project. And certainly there are many fascinating qualities to admire about one Captain Picard, as a leader and captain with his deft skill in diplomacy and company, as someone that works in management to sit down with this fictional leader in real life would be humbling and an amazing experience.
Instead I’m going to approach this from a slightly different perspective. One of the factors in my consideration was my predication and favour towards the typical heroic personalities and characters I admire and try in my humblest way to emulate in my day to day actions. I do recognise though they can also be themselves somewhat of a caricature of that heroic trope, lacking somewhat in depth and complexity and coming across as little more than a fan favourite. Not every hero has to have a dark side to their journey, though of course the traditional narrative structure tends to feature the hero’s journey descending into chaos before rising back up against adversity. That said, I do like my characters to have some complexity or duality to their personality, the hero is fun for a while but genuinely I like depth as it adds believability. Everyone has a dark side to their personality, everyone has demons inside them they fight to overcome otherwise to use a cliched adage, they wouldn’t be people they’d be angels. So the character I would like to meet in real life is the retiring intelligence analyst, Nathan Muir from the movie Spy Game as depicted by Robert Redford. One of my enduring top films for its interweaving narrative and consistent pace but certainly elevated by the performances of its two stars.
When I first watched this film, I was amazed at the interplay and structure of the story and central narrative, intersecting various time periods and critical junctures in the film but at its foundation the character of Nathan Muir working through out to conduct the rescue operation of his protege Tom Bishop played by Brad Pitt. Working with a mixture of determination, fortitude and a degree of intrepidity, his plan comes to fruition in the closing moments and you realise how he has managed to subvert the investigation by the CIA the entirety of the movie as the discourse of his lies and half truths are revealed on his departure and retirement from his profession. It wasn’t necessarily an action heavy film, it had its moments, but it was refreshing to watch and interesting and complex character use intellect and experience to succeed. It may seem a critical view to have but it doesn’t feel like a movie that would be made today, there is no deus ex machina revealed that saves the day, no contrived plot points or a moral diatribe aimed towards the sins of modern culture. At its core, its a narrative that expels the virtues of experience and profession over youth and impulsive actions.
I always enjoyed his character in this film, but feels it strikes against the current trend of overthrowing the establishment with the spirit of youth and vigour. You only have to look at the response to movies such as The Last Jedi in my opinion to tell you there is a balance between passion and experience, and when you kill off established characters to promote a certain, viewpoint, it isn’t always a wise decision. The character of Muir left a lasting impression on me, to look beyond the stated narrative, to know which way the wind is blowing before walking into a situation and to plan in advance. Equally, the importance of recognising and controlling a situation on your terms. I always admired and would like to meet this character specifically as he was a rare characterisation of brains over brawn, showing dedication and loyalty irrespective of personal feelings and circumstance to those he cared about. You could also add having a sit down discussion with someone with a lifetime of stories and secrets from a retired agent in the CIA would be a fantastic learning opportunity. Ideally it would be on top of a hotel in Berlin.
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