"That's Typing" Tuesday, in which I share unpolished, unpublished writings from my vast store of unpolished, unpublished writings. On Tuesdays.
From my notes on the 1995 submarine thriller, Crimson Tide:
There's a telling moment early in Crimson Tide—Gene Hackman as the submarine skipper is standing on the conning tower with the last minute replacement for his executive officer (Denzel Washington). As they sail out of port, they smoke cigars and watch the sunset, a long moment of silence.
At last Hackman says, "Bravo, Hunter."
"You knew to shut up and enjoy the view. Most eggheads want to talk it away. Your stock just went up a couple of points."
Which is true enough—as the man said, "Be here now." Yet, ironically, it's Hackman who is talking away the moment, and therein lies the scene's subtlety. He's no "egghead," but he is a bully, and he can't stand the notion that anyone could experience anything differently than he would. So he attempts to browbeat Washington even in this, a cigar and a sunset. Establish the pecking order right off the bat. He might just as well challenge his first officer to a pissing contest right there on the conning tower of the sub.
Washington neither backs down nor responds to the bait. He's inside himself where his sense of who he is resides. Just where it should be.
In fact, watching the movie again I was struck by just how much Hackman does talk. The man simply cannot shut up—about anything. Which makes him not only a bully, but an insecure bully at that, a dangerous enough phenomenon even when he isn't packing nuclear heat ...