Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Movie Moments: A Beautiful Mind

Welcome to a weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. There are great movies, and then there are great scenes. Ideally, the two come as a package deal, but sometimes there’s just a scene that’s memorable all by itself. Each week, I’ll be taking a look at a formative movie moment that may be notable for its style, content, technique, or something else altogether. Minor spoilers will be referenced in this edition of the series, so please stop reading if you’ve somehow avoided seeing the movie in question.

The very deserving 2001 Best Picture from director Ron Howard contains many magnificent scenes, but this is one of the crucial early moments that sets the rest of the film’s events in motion. Mainly, it’s the beginning of the exploration of John Nash’s psyche, as his mind breaks apart numeric sequences to find patterns that may or may not be there, tuning out the rest of the world and the exhausted military men behind him waiting for him to come up with something. Russell Crowe should absolutely have won the Oscar for his nuanced, insightful performance as Nash, the antisocial but brilliant mathematician whose mind tends to get the best of him, carrying him away on impossible adventures with codes and secrets aplenty. This scenes frames his journey not as a thriller but rather as an epic drama with Nash at its center, going from anonymous student to anonymous codebreaker, constantly fascinated by the excitement that comes with his daily work and the intelligence that makes it possible. The film’s later scenes, such as Alicia’s discovery of John’s work and the tremendously moving giving of the pens in the cafeteria, all trace back to John’s first foray into the spy world in this truly excellent film.

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