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Wow, oh wow, Witness is 30 years old! It was released on Feb 7, 1985. And - no joke - I've probably watched the whole film 15 - 20 times. I never really tire of it. I discover something new with each screening. The gist of the movie is this: a young Amish boy witnesses a murder and the movie follows the exploits of a Philadelphia cop (Harrison Ford) who tries to protect the boy.
I actually reached out to Harrison Ford's rep for a comment about this special anniversary for the movie and - no surprise:) - have not heard back. If anyone from his office eventually responds, I will share it here.
Okay, enter my neighbor's 17-year-old son. He wants to be a movie producer someday and recently started an online movie review show called "Mad Squirrel Reviews." He does a good job providing thoughtful commentary about each film he reviews. I'm always wanting to be encouraging to our next generation of artists, filmmakers, writers and so on. No, I am not done yet!:) There's still a ton of literary work in my tank, but I like to extend a hand to the up and comers. Since he's trying to find an audience for his reviews, I suggested to his mom that he review Witness (and then promptly kicked myself because there is some violence and minor nudity in the film, but, sheesh, in the age of Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and other fare, Witness probably seems like Sesame Street) Anyway, 17-year-old Garrett does really good movie reviews. I was sort of expecting juvenile banter about each film, but he doesn't do that. I mean, there's definitely a youthful slant that makes me feel old, but he does a good job. So if you want to keep abreast of his past and future reviews, you can like Mad Squirrel's Facebook page here. Maybe he's the next Spielberg. Witness came out in 1985 a full 13 years before our reviewer was even born. Now THAT makes me feel old. In 1985 I was slogging my way through junior high in Middletown, Ohio and had never even heard of the Amish (my first Amish encounter, as I wrote last week, didn't occur until the following summer). 1985 was a time when photos were still taken using rolls of film, phones were attached to wires, people actually talked to one another or read books instead of gluing their faces to smartphones...it was a different era. Witness captures that era well. Okay, I need to quit looking things up about the film, because it just makes me feel worse, but get this:
In 1985, Harrison Ford was my age now, 42. Of course, doesn't take a math genius to figure out that he is now 72. I think I am going to go lie down.
There is a trailer for the movie in Garrett's review and, wow, that'll make you want to watch the movie if you haven't seen it. I HAVE seen it and it made me want to watch it - again. Witness was among the first to mine the "Amish genre" and in this case, first is best. For all the disrespecting of Amish culture that real life (think, Bergholz) and fiction life (think, Amish Mafia) have wrought since 1985, Witness delivers a film that has surprisingly realistic overtones wrapped in the sweet confection of fiction.
Okay, for a great review, a breath of youth, and some fun commentary check out Mad Squirrel Review's retrospective review of Witness!
The barn raising music ALWAYS give me goosebumps when I hear it. Actually it brings me to tears for some reason. Maybe it's because we've come so far from that kind of life it's a reminder of how far we've come - and not for the good.