Some men are the orchestrators of great evil. Others draw the evil unto themselves through their actions. And then, there is that unfortunate third category of individuals to whom a dread and foreboding destiny clings like a wet, rank overcoat, forever condemning them to a life trapped somewhere between the lines.
Such a third-category man was Forrest Gump, whose existence remained interwoven with the fabric of his very reality throughout the course of his life, try as he might to escape the all-encompassing doom written for him in the book of fate. Born to a mother of loose moral character, whose only communication with the boy came via cryptic and arcane cliches, young Forrest had his mind molded in hardship and the constant struggle against poverty. Life, she had informed him, was like a box of chocolates--filled with uncertainty, and the promise of eventual decay through over-consumption.
Having attained maturity, Gump finds escape the only way he can, choosing the visceral terrors of the jungles of Vietnam over the backwoods nightmare of rural Alabama. Warring with the Viet-Cong, he gets a swift lesson in the barbarities of martial conflict, ultimately punctuated by the vicious slaughter of Bubba, the one true friend he had. On that day, Forrest Gump swears a dark oath to avenge his comrade's demise, and to carry out his ultimate plan.
And yet, the forces of destiny that have ensnared Gump's life from the very beginning seek to overwhelm him at every turn, carrying him across time and space, through scenarios over which he seemingly has no control. Like a chameleon, he is continually built up and broken, his feeble psyche taxed to its capacity by his surreal brushes with the giants of his generation, and the precarious spectator's seat he fills at the very crossroads of history.
His brutally maimed former superior officer, himself a victim of the terrors of those teeming jungles, crosses paths with Forrest at an opportune moment, and the two join forces for a time in an attempt to seize the reigns of life from the unfeeling forces which have swept them away on a tide of ambiguity.
But like most men doomed to walk this Earth, Gump is fixated on the woman he loves but cannot have. Perhaps the cruelest trick played upon him by the eldritch forces governing his existence has been her ultimate elusiveness, and yet Gump hangs all hopes of sanity on the attainment of Jenny, nonetheless.
And when she comes within his grasp, only to shun him once again, Gump is plunged into a pit of vengeful, paranoid fury, which leads him to flee maniacally across the country on foot, a near-mythic and feral figure desperately trying to escape the inescapable. Eventually, filled with dread at the hopelessness of his plight, he returns home to face the demons head-on.
Gump believes those demons to be at last decisively banished when he finally reunites with Jenny. But little does he realize that Jenny has already been exposed to a rare and deadly virus poised to grip the planet in a plague-like epidemic. And she is stolen from him, just as he was beginning to get to know the boy he had unknowingly fathered with her.
Forrest is left along to raise the boy--a child, who, day by day comes to resemble his father more and more. Is the curse really dead, or has it just migrated to a new generation? Run, Forrest, run--but remember, there are some things in this life a man can never get away from...
Horror Movie Makeover: The Godfather
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