The movie Witness is NOT a comedy. It’s a suspenseful crime drama. But along with a few other moments in the last few weeks, it provided plenty of comic relief. Read on for at least two belly-wrenching anecdotes.
The drama begins with a young Amish boy, whose father recently passed, witnessing a murder. In steps Harrison Ford, who plays John Book, a Philadelphia detective assigned to find the killer. After housing the boy and his mother for a spell in his sister’s apartment, Book assures them they will be safe. He later finds out there is a bit of corruption in his department, forcing all three to flee the apartment in a hailstorm of gunfire.
With a gunshot wound to the side, he outs maneuvers his pursuers and races the two witnesses to safety in his bronze-brown Chevelle. As the detective fades in and out of consciousness from the wound, the mother calmly wonders aloud, “I thought you said we’d be safe.”
Book’s reply, “Well, I WAS WRONG!!!”
I don’t know why it hit my funny bone in such a way but I, and my wife, found this particularly humorous. I doubt it was meant to be funny, but it was nonetheless. We don’t often find men so willing to confess their mistakes… even less when they’re under duress. And I don’t know any man that would be so open with his shortcomings with a gunshot wound to the side – especially one obtained from protecting the same people who are currently interrogating you. Either way, let’s just say I was tickled. But that wasn’t the funniest thing by far.
Not even five minutes had gone by before I was chuckling once again, and it wasn’t even because of the movie. Before we re-entangle ourselves with the plot I must first give some context as to where we were watching this film. My wife and I, along with some friends, had brought our lawn chairs out to a local park for their summer-concert-in-the-park series. There weren’t more than 30 moviegoers in attendance, so it was very intimate. With that in mind, back to the show.
To escape his persecutors, Book and his two Amish compatriots, take refuge in Lancaster County with the boy’s Dutch Country kin. Just as they reach the family farm, Book’s blood loss becomes too intensive and he loses consciousness. The car and its three inhabitants drift recklessly across the farm’s green pastures. I, and many other onlookers, would think this harmless, as the fields were flat and he would inevitably come to a stop, seeing as how they were traveling no faster than a horse-drawn buggy. But then the frame changes and you see the car might be stopping sooner than expected. There, in the car’s trajectory… sits a birdhouse .
A skinny 6-foot pole with a small wooden bird structure perched upon it is no reason for alarm but there was something about the car’s slow drift that built such unexpected suspense. The camera stood completely still as the car inched closer and closer to impact. Each inch felt like an hour as the bumper rolled towards the inevitable collision. Who would’ve thought such suspense could build? The Chevelle was inches away when someone from the audience, in a very hitch pitched voice, screamed –
“NOT THE BIRDHOUSE!?!?!”
I don’t know whether it was the dramatic lead-up to the crash, the unexpected aviary enthusiast, or the fact that I have a friend who lives in Amish Country and I know how much he hates birdhouses, but I was in stitches.
We’ve all heard someone tell a funny story before, and more times than not, it is most likely not as funny to us as it was to the storyteller, but this is different, this IS funny… kind of.
We see planes shot down in Ukraine, countries on the brink of all out war in the Middle east, and 6 o’clock news stories about killer car-jackings, but what really get’s some of us ticked off enough to scream out in public, is when a Robin’s nest gets whacked by a Chevelle.
It was funny. Maybe its because I’m married now… but I just thought it was funny is all. In the end, whether it makes you chuckle or not, you will never look at birdhouses, or the Amish, in the same way ever again.