White House Down – the movie

Have you seen it?  I think it has a lot to offer, and it appears many people are in agreement with that sentiment.  I want to point out one particular moment in this film that is profound, amazing, powerful, and so understated and quick that it could be very easily overlooked.  At one point, the President is being instructed by the bad guy to do something that will allow him to launch an outrageous amount of nuclear missiles on other countries.  To motivate the President, the bad guy is holding a gun to the head of a young girl, which is heinous enough on its own, but is even more so because the young girl is the daughter of the man who has thus far kept the President alive throughout this horrifying crisis.  Of course the girl is crying, terrified out of her wits, but we know she has already proven that she has character and determination to spare.  The bad guy has also proven that he will do what he says he’ll do.  What does the President do?  He looks at her and says that if he did what the bad guy wanted him to do, millions of people would die, not saying out loud but making it clear that he cannot do this thing – and he asks her if she understands.  And she says yes, she does understand.

Now, of course, a split second later action erupts, distracting everyone on the screen and in the audience, and proceeding through some fairly imaginative plot twists to an eminently satisfactory conclusion.

But in that one moment – that short, powerful moment – a man and a young girl were both ready to do the right thing, in the face of overwhelming terror and horror.  So much to appreciate.  So much to consider.

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