Monthly Archives: October 2012

False Memories


Quite a few years ago, I watched the film Man on Fire. I remember it was a sad movie. Denzel Washington plays Creasy, a man who becomes a bodyguard for Pita (Dakota Fanning), due to a recent string of kidnappings.

Pita swims, and is very fast in the water, but slow getting off the blocks due to her always flinching at the starting gunshot. She and Creasy become quite close, and Creasy helps her train for a swim meet by teaching her not to flinch at the starting gunshot. There’s this big scene with Creasy and Pita yelling “the gunshot holds no fear!” a lot and Pita learning to dive quickly off the blocks. Pita ends up winning her race.

But a bit later on in the movie, Pita and Creasy get surrounded after Pita’s piano lesson, and Pita gets kidnapped. Then at the end of the movie, Creasy finds her kidnappers and makes a deal with them – a life for a life. They will return Pita to her mother, if Creasy gives up his own life to them in return. So Creasy goes to them, and as he is walking to them, they release Pita. They meet briefly on the bridge for one last goodbye, and Creasy tells Pita something about what will happen, and that she shouldn’t be scared. Pita runs to her mother, and Creasy meets the kidnappers, and as the kidnappers go to shoot Creasy in the head execution-style, Pita hides her head in her mother’s arm, crying, and repeats to herself “the gunshot holds no fear”.

Or so I thought. I have such a vivid memory of that happening, that when I watched it again the other day, I was very surprised to find that the entire ending was a huge anti-climax. As Creasy makes his way to the kidnappers, Pita is released, and they meet each other on the bridge. Pita runs to her mother, and Creasy gets bundled into the kidnappers car. He is already wounded from earlier, and dies randomly in the car. The “the gunshot holds no fear” scene is never referred back to. The movie just ends.

After that, I figured the television must have just been showing me some lame censored version of the film, so that it could be shown on free-to-air TV. So I looked up alternate endings on Google. And there were none. My memory invented an awesome fake ending in my head, and I had to ruin it by watching the movie again. I still prefer my version. They should remake the entire film. Or at least the ending.